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Clean Air Zone Update - Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council

The quality of the air we breathe can significantly affect our health and wellbeing. The government instructed Southampton and 4 other cities with the worst levels of air pollution in the United Kingdom to consider Clean Air Zones to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide. Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council are working together to submit separate business cases to Government to improve air quality. Over a period of 12 weeks Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council consulted the public and key stakeholders on proposals for a Clean Air Zone. Thank you to all those that took part.

There were 9,299 responses to the consultation including responses to the questionnaire, letters, emails and social media comments. Feedback is now being thoroughly analysed and evaluated by Southampton City Council's Research and Insight team.

As well as the consultation, Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council have commissioned extensive transport and air quality modelling work from independent consultants to inform a technical assessment that will be an integral part of each council's clean air business case.

New Forest District Council will submit their business case to Government by 31 December 2018 for approval. Prior to this their business case will be discussed at a meeting of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 13 December 2018, and then a decision will be taken at Cabinet on 18 December 2018.

Southampton City Council will submit their business case to Government by 31 January 2019 for approval. Prior to this their business case will be discussed at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 16 January 2019, and then a decision will be taken at a special Cabinet meeting on 22 January 2019.  In order to provide maximum space for stakeholders and interested groups to attend, the special Cabinet meeting will be held in the Southampton Guildhall, rather than the council chamber.

The delay to Southampton City Council's business case submission has been caused due to the amount of analysis required following the exceptional volume of consultation feedback, changes to baseline data provided through the consultation that has impacted on the air quality modelling, and feedback that has promoted further exploration into social and economic impacts. It is important that all these elements are given the attention they deserve, and this takes time.

Despite the delay to the business case submission it is anticipated that there will be no impact on the delivery of compliance by 2020. The focus continues to be on the delivery of legal limits of nitrogen dioxide within Southampton in the shortest possible time.

Councillor Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member - Green City, Southampton City Council said:

"Clean air is vital to the health and wellbeing of people in the Southampton and the New Forest, and the huge response to the consultation shows the strength of feeling. Our shared priority is to reduce dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide to within legal limits in the shortest time possible. I'd like to thank local residents and organisations for taking the time to share their thoughts and ideas. The consultation feedback, in conjunction with the technical assessment results, will jointly inform the business case we submit."

Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council continue to work together and the consultation results will be released on 3 December 2018 on the council's websites in advance of both Cabinet meetings.  

 

Updated: 15 Nov 2018
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