At a cabinet meeting on October 6, Liberal Democrats on Portsmouth City Council voted through plans for a clean air zone in the city centre – but one that did not include Kingston Crescent and Fratton Road.
The zone, brought in to combat the poor air quality in the area, will introduce a charge for gas-guzzling vehicles such as HGVs.
But members of the Labour Party have brought the decision to a scrutiny panel, believing that the zone should be extended back out.
They say that the clean air zone should also include the Isle of Wight ferry terminal, Kingston Crescent and Fratton Road.
Labour representative for Charles Dickens, Cllr Cal Corkery, said: ‘There has been a fair amount of disquiet from the local community and environmental activists.
‘We want to keep the clean air zone at the size that was originally suggested, before it was shrunk down.
‘Having clean air has never been more important – studies have linked air pollution to Covid-19 rates and so local authorities must do everything they can to combat it.’
Cllr Corkery’s motion has been supported by Cllrs Jeanette Smith, Claire Udy, Graham Heaney and Tom Coles.
Their argument is that removing Kingston Crescent and Fratton Road will only serve to make those roads worse.
‘There are already dangerous levels of pollution in these two roads,’ Cllr Corkery added.
‘What the council has essentially created is an air pollution corridor that runs from the M275 right down to Southsea.
‘Considering how many people in Charles Dickens and Buckland wards don’t have cars, they are the ones being subjected to this abhorrent air pollution every day.’
Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, stands by the cabinet’s outcome.
He said: ‘I believe we have made the correct decision.
‘We have to be careful with the clean air zone and consider the impact on businesses.
‘These are family businesses in a tough place to earn a living, and extending the zone would also mean that all the train stations would be in the clean air zone too – which would put people off of using them.
‘All of this was taken into consideration at the cabinet meeting and so I stand by the outcome.’