Putting together plans for better air quality

After a public consultation, Southampton City Council will submit its proposals to Government early next year.

The quality of the air we breathe can significantly affect our health and wellbeing. The Government instructed Southampton and four 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.

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 Environment 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 impacted the air quality modelling, and feedback that prompted 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 nitrogen dioxide compliance by 2020. The focus continues to be on the delivery of legal limits of nitrogen dioxide within Southampton in the shortest time possible.

Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council continue to work together and the consultation results will be released here on 3 December 2018.