City Council says it will be awarded £892,000 to tackle air quality
locally, but pressure group Clean Air Southampton, while welcoming the
boost, says initiatives don’t go far enough, and is calling for better
monitoring and government measures to “remove diesel vehicles from our
The Air Quality Grant programme helps local authorities tackle air
quality in their areas to reduce the impact on people’s health and
create cleaner and healthier environments.
This year it will focus on supporting schemes to tackle nitrogen dioxide levels.
Projects include a £253,880 scheme in Southampton and Eastleigh
to support the uptake of low emission taxis, and a £99,000 scheme to
fund eco-safe driver training on the council’s vehicle fleet.
further £539,120 from the grant fund will be awarded as part of a joint
application with the other Clean Air Zone cities, and Greater
Manchester, to help raise awareness of air quality.
The government says it’s “firmly committed” to improving the UK’s air quality and cutting harmful emissions.
Environment minister Therese Coffey said tackling poor air quality is
a priority for the government, and that it’s “working closely with
local authorities so they can play a crucial role in this”.
“I was delighted at the broad range of ideas submitted, from using
the latest technology to promoting cleaner taxis and increasing the
uptake of electric vehicles, and these projects will help to improve the
quality of life for people who live and work in our towns and cities,
both now and in the future.”
Southampton City Council’s cabinet member for transformation
projects, Christopher Hammond, said: “We’ve made it our priority to
reduce pollution levels and clean up the air that we’re all breathing.
“From eco driver training for all the council’s drivers, to
supporting the delivery of ultra-low emission taxis, this grant will
enable us to make lasting improvements to the quality of the air in the
‘People need to think about making changes’
“We all contribute to the problem and we all need to play a part in a
solution,” he continued. “People from in and around the city need to
think about making changes to the way they travel and adopting
low-impact, sustainable choices. This can be as simple as swapping one
car journey a week for walking or cycling. This will help us to achieve
positive and lasting change, which we will all benefit from.”
Pressure group Clean Air Southampton said that while it’s “very good
news” that local taxis will be helped to move to low emission vehicles,
and that more awareness-raising work will be done, the measures don’t go
The group said in a statement:
Better monitoring needed
Air Southampton would like to see much better monitoring of air
pollution in the city (as happens in London), so that we can be given
accurate messages. We would also like much better reporting of air
pollution incidents, maybe on the weather forecasts, on bus stop
real-time signs and in City Council bulletins on social media.
“We have recently been through a series of very highly polluted days
when emergency measures, such as removing diesel vehicles from the City
should have been implemented. We are calling for the Council’s emergency
plans to be updated to include special measures to ensure air pollution
doesn’t get any worse on highly polluted days.
‘Roads should shut on Clean Air Day’
“The first National Clean Air Day will be on June 15, and we’d like
to see the roads within the Old Town walls shut to traffic for the day
(except for residents and deliveries) as a demonstration of how pleasant
it can be and how much more attractive to visitors our historic centre
would be if this were made permanent.
“However, the solution to the problem lies with the Government, which
needs to do all in its power to remove diesel vehicles from our
streets, and help the people who will be affected to switch to low
'Turn off engine' image under CC2 by Matt Brown