Work on new cycle paths to combat Fareham air quality set to begin by the end of summer

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CYCLE paths, financial incentives for taxi drivers and more advanced traffic lights will all be introduced in Fareham by next year, it has been confirmed.

Hampshire County Council has unveiled a scheme to try and lower the nitrogen dioxide emissions between Fareham and Gosport, most notably around the A32 and Junction 11 of the M27.

The A32 is an area of particular concern for air quality. Picture: Malcolm Wells

The A32 is an area of particular concern for air quality. Picture: Malcolm Wells

It comes after Fareham Borough Council ruled out any sort of toll system in 2017, instead looking to improve public transport and encourage cycling.

The cycle routes have not yet been confirmed by the county council, but it has said that taxi drivers will be given a financial incentive if they switch to a greener vehicle, while Quay Street’s traffic lights will be ‘more reactive’.

Making the switch, taxi drivers will be given free licensing, servicing and insurance for five years.

Real-time information will also be made available to passengers at bus stops.

With plans now in motion, it is hoped that these measures will be in place by the end of 2020.

Councillor Rob Humby, executive member for economy, transport and environment at Hampshire County Council, said: ‘We are developing a number of schemes around the A27, designed to improve local air quality, and are working with our colleagues at Fareham Borough Council to deliver this.

‘We anticipate that the first of the cycle schemes which will be installed in phases will begin at the end of the summer, and, as soon as we have a contractor appointed to deliver these, we will be able to provide further details to local residents.’

Fareham Borough Council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward, says that the council needed to implement as many measures as possible.

‘Many of the taxis in Fareham actually have diesel engines,’ he said.

‘It’s much less clean than the modern, more environmentally friendly cars – in fact, idling diesel engines are the biggest source of nitrogen dioxide emissions.’

In March, Fareham Borough Council was given £1.4m by the government to tackle air quality concerns in the town.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘We’re pleased that we have the money to do it, and we want to get on with things now.

‘Action has to be taken as quickly as possible.’