A Clean Air Manifesto for Southampton

We ask you, as a candidate in the May, 2019 local elections, to sign this Clean Air Manifesto for Southampton – to show your support for reducing air pollution in the City in a measureable way during your term of office:

  1. A 25% reduction in cars and vans entering Southampton – to reduce particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide – in line with the Council’s target of 25ug/m3 NO2 by 2025 and the WHO guideline for PM2.5 of 10ug/m31


  1. Work with partners to create ‘Low emission zones’ around all schools, hospitals and GP surgeries in the city 2


  1. Introduce a workplace parking levy to generate income for investment in public transport3


  1. Establish a cross-party working group on air quality – as soon as possible


  1. Establish low-cost park and ride schemes, using existing bus services and available land/existing car parks


  1. Establish one car-free Sunday a month in the city centre4


  1. Impose Euro VI standard as a minimum for all delivery vehicles in the City Centre. Work with local businesses to encourage last mile deliveries5


  1. Ensure that travelling by bus is the cheapest option for a family6


  1. Increase walking and cycling investment by allocating at least 15% of total transport infrastructure spending, as recommended by Government7


  1. Annual reports to be produced, using all available data on transport and air quality, to measure progress on the above targets and to highlight areas for further action


Clean Air Southampton and Southampton Friends of the Earth


Supported by:        Professor Stephen T Holgate, RCP Special Advisor on Air Quality

Dr Ben Marshall, Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine, Southampton University

Southampton Cycling Campaign; Southampton Collective; Green Resistance Southampton; Extinction Rebellion Southampton; Southampton Women’s Forum; Breathe Easy Hedge End; Transition Southampton; Southampton Real Nappy Network; Redbridge Residents’ Association


1     The highest modelled kerbside NO2 in the city for 2020 is at Northam Bridge and is projected to be 38ug/m3. The Council has committed to achieving 25ug/m3 NO2 across the city by 2025. This is a 34% reduction on 2020. So a 25% reduction in traffic by 2023 will be a necessary step towards this declared aim. We have chosen to use traffic counts to measure the reduction, as a straight proxy for NO2 and also particulate matter, to make this target more easily measurable. WHO guidelines for PM and NO2: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/69477/WHO_SDE_PHE_OEH_06.02_eng.pdf?sequence=1


2     See https://www.uk100.org/press-release/.

Guidance for the NHS here: https://www.globalactionplan.org.uk/news/fresh-air-for-the-uks-most-polluted-hospitals


3     https://www.lgcplus.com/idea-exchange/how-nottingham-created-the-uks-first-workplace-parking-levy/7022862.article


4     Car-free days have already been accepted as an idea by the City Council and preliminary discussions and planning have started, but much more work needed. Strong community support for this idea, and growing evidence of positive impact on trade and pollution, e.g. https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2019/03/08/closing-central-madrid-to-cars-resulted-in-9-5-boost-to-retail-spending-finds-bank-analysis


5     There are signs that a local business is getting an electric cargo bike business under way. To ensure the success of such entrepreneurs it needs to be backed up with proper controls on HGVs, in particular refrigerated articulated lorries, accessing the city and causing congestion and pollution.


6     Cheap weekly bus tickets for individuals are currently available but a one-off return journey into the city for a family can cost a huge amount of money. This encourages driving into town and paying to park which is currently much cheaper. The equivalent of an Oyster card is needed to permit travel on all available options without having to buy another (expensive) ticket.


7            See: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-11-22/HCWS1099/

7 thoughts on “A Clean Air Manifesto for Southampton”

  1. Amazing that this is the aim of SCC, yet they are changing Blue badge disabled parking bays over to general pay to park for anyone! Double Yellow lines, can be used to park with a blue badge, now being removed and used to pay to park! On these car free Sundays every 4 weeks, am I to stay away from the city center? I can’t get to a bus stop, or from the bus stop to walk around town! Words so easy to right, total consensus not thouroghly thought through 😢😢😉


    1. Hi Penny, thanks for your comments. We think that car free days should manage everyone’s needs – and find a solution that suits you – like retaining access to disabled parking bays. Our Manifesto is intended to be a starting point for politicians to work from – we’ll make sure to mention your comments when we go to see them! Best wishes, Liz


  2. How do you see car free days working for those of us who live in the city centre? Are we to be confined to the city centre for the day regardless of our work or recreational needs while those who live outside have freedom to go where they like as long as it’s not Southampton city centre?


    1. Hi Graham, thanks for contacting us. I’d expect that there would be arrangements made for residents, buses, taxis and people with disabled badges to come and go as needed. The main aim would be to give people an experience of how nice it can be without the noise and pollution from traffic, and to be able to move around freely and safely for a few hours. One step along the way to a cleaner city!


  3. what is to be done about the councils acceptance of the widening of Bittern Rd West .It means Northam and surrounding areas & schools will have even higher pollution levels


    1. Hi Margaret, thanks for getting in touch. We’ve seen the plans for the A3024, but weren’t aware of any plans to widen Bitterne Road West. Highways England did propose some changes, but abandoned those earlier this year. The present plans are being produced by the City Council and work has started between Bitterne and Thornhill on some minor junction changes, changes to traffic light phasing and provision of cycle routes. Do you have access to any reports, etc we could see? Thanks, Liz


  4. Hi Oscar, thanks for getting in touch. You’re right that some pretty nasty emissions are produced by diesel trains, and it becomes more hazardous when the fumes are trapped by the overhang in stations. There are many studies which cover this if you Google it. I believe there were plans for further electrification from here to the Midlands and Wales which were withdrawn by the Government. This undoubtedly contributes to the poor air quality in the city. I found this project for retro-fitting diesel engines which would help with nitrogen dioxide removal – it was NO2 which was modelled for the city last year in response to a Ministerial direction to comply with the law: https://www.globalrailwayreview.com/news/78785/britain-technology-reduction-train-emissions/ However, it doesn’t say whether particulate matter is reduced by this method and PM10 and PM2.5 are regarded as more hazardous to health than NO2. It is PM which is descending on your house. It will also be coming from Thomas Lewis Way, from the tyres, brake pads and existing debris on the road surface. In this hot weather it can rise in clouds and move around for days before settling, especially the tiniest particles which can’t be seen except under a microscope.

    There is an air quality project running in St Denys at the moment. My colleague, Mandi Bissett, is running Breathing Spaces : https://breathingspaces.org.uk/ – there is data on there from the PM monitors which have been located in St Denys which might be of interest. Please make contact with Mandi if you would like to know more about what’s going on.

    Best wishes, Liz


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