A report in the Sunday Times this week claims that drivers of diesel vehicles in polluted cities around the UK could face a ‘toxin tax’ of up to £20/day, or bans at peak hours, or both.
The Times says “nine or ten” of the worst affected cities could be included. Southampton is ranked as joint fifth most polluted city in the UK. According to The Sun, this also includes Portsmouth.
Clean Air Zone by 2020
Southampton council have already voted to implement a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) which includes ten areas around the city they call Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs). They’re linked to worst locations for nitrogen dioxide emissions.
This includes the area around Town Quay and the road that’s used to get to and from the Red Funnel port.
Southampton City Council are only a month into a technical assessment which will not be complete until the end of the year. This will then decide what the Clean Air Zone looks like.
Previously, private vehicles were explicitly excluded. This latest news puts that into question.
Ferry users could be affected
This could affect Islanders as they exit the ferry in Southampton, as well as tourists looking to visit the Island.
The Times prints that it’s expected the measures will be unveiled this week by Andrea Leadsom, the Environment secretary.
They quote a senior Whitehall source as saying,
“There will be different ways of proceeding for different authorities. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some need a tweak, some need more rigid plans.”
The requirement is connected to the ClientEarth court case back in November 2016 where the Government was directed to clear up the air quality in the UK.
Red Funnel believe no impact
OnTheWight asked Red Funnel for their reaction, they told us,
“Southampton City Council has stated that by 2020 the worst polluting lorries, buses, coaches and taxis will have to pay a levy to discourage them from accessing the city.
“We understand from the City Council that newer vehicles and private cars will not be subject to a statutory charge which means there will be no impact for the vast majority of Red Funnel customers.”
Clean Air Southampton
Clean Air Southampton has more details for those wanting to know more about the situation in and around the city.
Last night (Tuesday), the Prime Minister said the Government may consider providing help to those who have been encouraged to buy diesel cars.
It’s seen as a indication that a diesel scrappage scheme may be on the cards.
“Decisions will be taken when we produce that plan … but I’m very conscious of the fact that past governments have encouraged people to buy diesel cars and we need to take that into account when we’re looking at what we do in the future.”