Portsmouth's clean air zone to go ahead with £6.6m funding
A clean air zone in part of the city that will charge the drivers of certain vehicles is a step closer to being implemented with £6.6m of government cash.
The money has been awarded to Portsmouth City Council to create a zone in the south west of Portsea Island that will charge heavy goods vehicles, coaches, buses, taxis and private hire vehicles of a certain age to enter.
Of the cash £3.4m will cover the cost of installing number plate recognition cameras and signs, and a further £3.2m will cover grants for affected drivers to allow them to either retrofit or upgrade their vehicles.
It is planned the government-imposed ‘class B’ zone, that will begin operating in November, will bring levels of air pollution in Portsmouth to 'compliant levels.'
Pam Turton, the council's assistant director for transport, said: 'Air pollution is the greatest environmental threat to public health, so it is important we all take action. Like many cities across the UK, the council is required by the government to address air pollution in the shortest possible time by introducing the clean air zone.
'Our clean air zone will go live in November 2021. Alongside this we are delivering £100m of improvements for bus, walking and cycling journeys, as well as trialling rental e-scooters, safe and secure cycle storage in residential areas and encouraging cleaner areas around schools, all to help make the air we breathe cleaner.'
Vehicles that will be charged include diesel vehicles that don't meet Euro 6 emissions standards and petrol vehicles that don't meet Euro 4 emissions standards.
The charge will be £10 a day for non-compliant taxis and private hire vehicles, and £50 a day for HGVs, buses and coaches.
Clean air campaigner and member of Let Pompey Breathe, Tim Sheerman-Chase said the clean air zone 'was a step in the right direction.'
But he added: 'Government is saying once compliance is met the zone can be removed. But what's the point in spending all that money if it's not going to be there long?
'We need something more long term. And I'm not convinced a class B zone just in the south west of the city is enough to reduce air pollution - and there's the issue of displacement that needs to be considered.
'But once we have a zone in place that's positive and maybe it can be adjusted if needed in time.'
The £3.4m funding from government also includes £500,000 to install rapid electric vehicle charging points in the city. At first, these will be available for drivers of electric taxis and private hire vehicles only.
As previously reported, it it thought the zone will cost £25m to run over its predicted lifetime.
To apply for support from the clean air fund visit portsmouth.gov.uk/cleanairzone.
The News has launched the Going for Green campaign which will keep the spotlight on efforts to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution in Portsmouth, as well as suggesting ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle.