The UK government has issued Portsmouth City Council with a fourth ministerial direction to improve air quality.
The council is required to implement a Class B charging clean air zone (CAZ) by the end of 2021, to bring forward compliance with legal limits for nitrogen dioxide to 2022.
The ministerial direction states that a Class B CAZ should be operational from November 2021.
A daily charge for non-complaint HGVs, buses, coaches (Euro VI) and taxis and public hire vehicles (Euro 6 (diesel) and Euro 4 (petrol)) would be charged to those travelling in the zone to the south west of the city.
The council has been allocated over £6.2m in funding to implement measures to improve air quality in Portsmouth and of this £1.6m is to help people make their vehicles compliant that would otherwise be charged.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “A Clean Air Zone is not our preferred approach to addressing air pollution in Portsmouth, especially during these unprecedented times, but we have to comply with the ministerial directive or face legal action from government.”
The government has also approved the council’s request for funding that will support those likely to be most negatively impacted by the CAZ.
In-addition to implementing the CAZ the government has mandated a number of non-charging measures that will also support the reduction of air pollution.
The next step for the council is to carry out further technical modelling to inform the full business case that is due in November for approval by the government.
Vernon-Jackson added: “Council officers will work with government to review how COVID-19 will impact the delivery timescales to make sure we provide an opportunity for people to have their say on how the zone will operate.”
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