Portsmouth City Council has announced the consultation about a clean air zone (CAZ) will run from now until 26th August (some places they say 28th August). While older lorries, buses, coaches and taxis will be charged to drive in the south west of the city, the details still need to be decided. The consultation was postponed due to the planned local elections in May, but these were cancelled due to COVID-19. I would encourage people to respond and that may encourage the council to stop dragging their feet. I have concerns that the small area of the CAZ and that it does not include private cars may be insufficient to reduce air pollution within a reasonable time. There is some uncertainty if light goods vehicles will be included in the scheme. As we are likely heading into a COVID-19/Brexit recession, people are less likely to replace old vehicles which are more polluting with newer less polluting ones. This means the council may need to take additional steps to reach legally compliant air quality than previously thought.

The timeline was also published:

  • Oct 2019:  Outline local air quality plan was submitted to government
  • Mar 2020: Government approval of the outline local air quality plan
  • 16 July to 26 Aug 2020: Clean air zone public consultation
  • Winter 2020: Full clean air zone plan submitted to government
  • Spring 2021: Government approval for full clean air zone plan
  • Summer 2021: Zone cameras and signage installed
  • Autumn 2021: Zone charging starts
  • Autumn 2022: Target date for compliance of pollution hotspots

The council has also announced that 97 of 105 buses have been upgraded to the Euro 6 pollution standard. They are also looking for suggestions for new electric vehicle charging locations.

Exemptions or ‘sunset periods’ could be granted for such vehicles where it can be shown that this will not delay the year in which levels of air pollution are brought within legal limits.

Quote from the Consultation information

The council says we must not “delay the year” for reaching compliance. That is not what the law says – which is to reach compliance as soon as possible. These exemptions are probably illegal. This reminds me of the time they claimed 40.5 ug/m3 was within the limit of 40ug/m3 because we can round it down

I’m not completely against exemptions of certain vehicles, however I am in favour of air quality as soon as possible. The focus should be on providing sustainable alternatives.

Therefore central government has confirmed that they will not provide funding for a CAZ D that would charge cars.

Isn’t it self funding? Once you have the cameras in place, and billing mechanisms, how can this cost any more to upgrade to class D? I suspect political reasons are more more likely.

We would be particularly interested in hearing from those who drive, or whose businesses rely upon the use of buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and heavy goods vehicles.

Portsmouth Clean Air Zone Update, 16th July

PCC is biasing the consultation already… *sigh*. What about people affected by the CAZ because they breathe (polluted) air?

UPDATE PS: Portsmouth’s Transport Recovery Plan– Draft June 2020By 2036 Portsmouth will have a people centred travel network, prioritising inclusive, active and sustainable connectivity to create a safer, healthier and more prosperous city” – that’s far too slow.

UPDATE PPS: Plan for segregated cycle route along Goldsmith Avenue