Clean Air Zone consultation

25 January 2019

Clean Air Zone was discussed at the Cabinet meeting held in the Guildhall on Tuesday 22nd January 2019. The meeting was called to ratify the proposals made at the scrutiny meeting on creating a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in the city. The CAZ consultation ran from April to August 2018 and received over 9000 responses with most people in favour of a charging CAZ – 56%. However the Council decided to ignore what people had said and to listen to the businesses instead who did not want a CAZ.
 
The Green Party along with a number of other campaigning groups spoke at the cabinet meeting reiterating the need to address air quality in the city. John Spottiswood described the 110 premature deaths that occur each year in the city and the enormous numbers living with asthma and other breathing difficulties. He called for a 50% reduction in air pollution including NO2 and particulates.
 
Katherine Barbour spoke about the Clean air bill launched by Jenny Jones and now going through parliament. There is also a Green Party breathing cities policy. For children there is a need for school streets, the facility to walk or cycle to school and to increase annual spending on walking and cycling from the paltry sum of £6.50 per head to £30 per head – closer to the level being spend in Holland and Germany. It is difficult to find information about school streets on the city website and Katherine called for the council to get information on the council website to make it easier for families to create safe streets.
 
The Clean Air campaign group spoke about the modelling assumptions that have been made and have some major concerns about the accuracy of these. This means that the reduction in pollution may not be realised in the time scales that the Council predicts.
 
Cara Sandys spoke about park and ride and the need to look at this again.
 
Lyn Brayshaw, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, recommended that campaigns like the “idling campaign” be relaunched. This encourages cars to switch off when stationary.
 
Council officers spoke about the consultation and the work being done in the city, Neil Tuck described the work being done in schools and the work with “my journey” to enable more people to find alternative ways to travel around the city.
 
Across England over 60 councils are exploring whether to introduce clean air zones. Southampton has missed an opportunity to make a radical difference to air quality and to put the city on the map as spearheading a way to address air quality and to use the revenue generated to put more walking and cycling infrastructure in place.
 
Katherine Barbour
23/01/19
 
Daily Echo press release