DEFRA put out a call for responses to their consultation on Clean Air Zones and Southampton was one of the five cities included in the proposals. So, we organised a workshop in November, 2016 to bring together local experts – academics, politicians, councillors and concerned groups and individuals – and set to work to produce our list of ideas.
Southampton has such an array of potential sources of air pollution, it was a complex meeting to organise, and we did it very successfully. Here is our response, and thanks very much to all the people who helped us put it together.
Thanks also to Steve Guppy, Scientific Officer with Southampton City Council for the map of what Southampton’s Clean Air Zone might look like:
This is just the beginning of the story, as the Government was taken to the High Court by ClientEarth last October, and told to re-visit their plans for Clean Air Zones. They have until April 2017 to re-issue their proposals and until July 2017 to enact them. The likely outcome of this revision will be the inclusion of all 37 towns and cities that are currently in breach of EU regulations on air quality. It is also possible that private cars may be included in the classes of vehicles to be regulated within the Clean Air Zones.
Climate Conversations seeks to assist in the development of local and national policy in relation to sustainability, air quality and climate change. Below are links to recent consultations and enga…
Source: Policy Work
On Wednesday, 13th April the Smogmobile travelled across Southampton, measuring nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10) as it went. It started at Tesco, Bursledon at 8am, went along the A3024 past Thornhill and towards Bitterne. It turned right up Bullar Road and left down Cobden Avenue and then over Cobden Bridge to Portswood.
From Portswood, it went via Onslow Road to Jury’s Inn and then turned north up The Avenue and left into Archers Road to Hill Lane. At Hill Lane the Smogmobile turned north and went as far as the Sports Centre roundabout and then left along Winchester Road to the lights at the Romsey Road/Shirley High Street crossroads. Here it turned left and went the whole length of Shirley High Street and Shirley Road to Four Post Hill and then past the Civic Centre and Asda, under the West Quay tunnel and down Castle Way where it turned left into Below Bar and parked up at West Quay for press interviews and filming.
Early afternoon, the Smogmobile went back to the Civic Centre via the West Quay tunnel and then back up Shirley Road and Shirley High Street, along Romsey Road to Lordshill and turned left along Brownhill Road to the M271, where it turned left to Redbridge roundabout and then left towards Millbrook roundabout, where it turned left and drove into Millbrook Estate. It went along Kendal Avenue to Cuckmere Lane and Redbridge Community College. Then it returned to Central Station via the A33 and did a u-turn back along the A33 to Redbridge roundabout and exited the City on the M271.
The data produced by the Smogmobile is shown in the attached maps and charts. The Managing Director of Enviro Technology, which supplied the Smogmobile said:
“Our observations show that the average NO2 concentration over the day (between 8am to 3:30pm) of all the routes we drove and during the time we were parked up at West Quay was 63.15 µg/m3, which is over 50% higher than the annual limit value of 40 µg/m3.”
Southampton City Council announced last week that a “clean air zone” will be introduced on a voluntary basis from next year. It will not be enforced until 2019 and will only target commercial vehicles (buses, coaches, lorries, taxis, vans). Liz Batten of Clean Air Southampton argues:
This is far too little, too slow, and doesn’t take account of the health risk. Private cars will still be allowed into the City with no controls or alternatives in place, and we know that they can emit many times the permitted levels of harmful chemicals (1). A recent review of studies has shown that a Clean Air Zone is unlikely to reduce the pollution we are exposed to (2)
During the visit of the Smogmobile to the City last week, levels of nitrogen dioxide (one of the harmful pollutants emitted by diesel engines) were found to be consistently above permitted levels throughout the day. Colin MacQueen, co-founder of Clean Air Southampton said:
This is an urgent public health issue, and the City Council must encourage changes to the way we travel in the City by putting people’s health and wellbeing first, not vehicles first. At a time when vision and action are needed, the role of Public Health in the City is being diminished and the role of the Health and Wellbeing Board, which has air quality in its remit, is not yet sufficiently established. After the May elections the next administration must create a more coherent approach to driving down air pollution in Southampton. We would like to hear from all the parties what their plans are for clean air in our City.
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