Quotes from the CAZ debate on Monday 9th Sept.

I don’t want to see a charging zone, it would be damaging for business, it would hit the city centre, it would undermine the Isle of Wight ferry and it would make Portsmouth as a whole a less attractive place for business. […] The other thing which I found quite interesting from the outline strategic case, which is actually quite worrying, you have some outline costings, is the vast cost of any sort of scheme. £10-20 million just in order to monitor vehicles and send out bills. Well there is only three roads in and out of Portsmouth and on the face of it, the geography makes it a simple problem. So I can only assume this is to have monitoring all over the city, not just vehicles that remain on Portsea Island for the entire journey. Isn’t that a massive amount of money to spend? On the face of it, there ought to be a better solution. […] £10-20 million might take you some way towards solving the problem, rather than just measuring it. […] This is EU red tape.

Luke Stubbs (Conservative)

This [CAZ] is not something that the council is choosing to do. This is something that government is choosing imposing on us. And it’s having to work through their methodology, which is at times deeply unhelpful. This is a government plan, which the government are forcing on Portsmouth. And I’m sure Luke [Stubbs] as a spokesman for the [Conservative] government, as they are your lot, that you will be able to support and justify it. […] If we end up with a clean air zone, this will be at the decision of the government. Full stop, nobody else. […] We will always refer to it as a government imposed plan […] If all it does is somebody in a lorry who is trying to get to London, starting in Ryde, drives across the Isle of Wight to Yarmouth, to pick up the ferry to get to Lymington, drives through the new forest, on that route, that will produce more air pollution than if they come through Portsmouth. And yet they are likely to be charged in this government imposed scheme by going through Portsmouth but not if they go through the New Forest and across the Island and that is clearly barking [mad] but it’s his [Luke’s] government. The other bit that really worries me is the effect on the retail sector. We know that almost all the parking in our main retail areas is private. We have no control over that at all. But the government is trying to keep high streets alive. But this government imposed plan is likely to cause people to not shop in Portsmouth, but to shop at Hedge End and out of town retail parks, where they can only get to by going down motorways and driving further. […] We wrote to government in March about lots of different things and so far, Luke, there has been a deafening silence. [… Central] Government are very keen on imposing things, they are not very keen at coming up with any solutions. […] I have a real worry for those people who are the poorest in our city, for whom a car is an essential for work, for whom it will become now too expensive to go to work because they are the least afford to change their cars. […] This is a government imposed scheme, with a government imposed methodology, which we have to do in their way, even though we know it will be ineffective, we could do it much better if they didn’t impose things in this way.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dem, Leader of Council)

Getting people to get out of their cars is very difficult […] If you get people out of their cars, you’ve got to have an alternative mode of transport. And we are working hard with the bus companies to improve the services. It’s a catch 22 situation, people don’t use certain parts of the bus services, therefore the bus companies cut those services, therefore fewer people use the buses. […] We are working on a fully integrated transport strategy. […I told a resident] “if you haven’t got off road parking, you only have room for one car”. He said “you are taking away my civil liberties”. And I said “there are people dying in the city because there are too many vehicles.” […] There are on average 1.37 cars per household in Portsmouth. It’s a city of terraced houses, you only have room for one car outside most houses […On pollution and congestion:] this is not unique to Portsmouth, it’s true for every major city in the country.

Lynne Stagg (Lib Dem, Transport)

This is a very difficult situation. It would be a mistake to think that CAZs are a solution that is in any way considered and thought through. Unfortunately, CAZs are a sledgehammer the government uses because they have no real understanding of what needs to change in terms of improving air pollution. They just see it as charging people. Charging people might have some effect but its something that very much affects everyone and most severely poorer people in the city because they do not get any relief from it whatsoever. […] What needs to happen from central government, in the same way they are imposing what we have to do on the city council, they should “impose” a load of money on us, so we can fund these kinds of things.

Matthew Winnington (Lib Dem, Public Health)

[…] We have to look at the wider approach the council is taking. Let’s remind ourselves, if we may, Leader, that Portsmouth has been crowned council of the year for energy efficiency. Particularly looking at people in poor homes. The city boasts the largest in house energy team, no in the south east region, but across the United Kingdom. We put in over 400 solar panel systems in Portsmouth, amounting to 20,000 solar panels. […] This is all being done here in Portsmouth. The council gets rocked[?] left right and centre sometimes but it’s doing a very good job. […] Portsmouth is being held up as a good model for reducing carbon […]

Lee Hunt (Lib Dem, Community Safety)