Environment Secretary Welcomes Local Conservative Air Quality Commitment

Environment Secretary Welcomes Local Conservative Air Quality Commitment

Environment Secretary Welcomes Local Conservative Commitment to Improving Southampton’s Air Quality.

Southampton Conservatives are pledging to make tackling poor air quality a key priority for a new Conservative Administration post the May council elections.

Conservative Group Leader, Jeremy Moulton has met with Elizabeth Truss MP, the Secretary of State for Environment, to highlight local concerns about the city’s air quality and to impress upon Government that a new Conservative Council would make tackling the problem a top priority.

The Secretary of State visited Southampton’s Civic Centre and also heard from local council candidate Chris Grace who is standing in Freemantle Ward and from Cllr Steven Galton who is the councillor for Millbrook Ward. The two wards are bordered by the Western Approach to the city where air quality is the worst.

Southampton Conservatives are pledging:

    • To look to introduce a local CAZ (Clean Air Zone) as soon as possible. We don’t want to wait until 2020 and are keen to bring in a scheme early if possible, thereby helping to reduce further premature deaths in the city. A Clean Air Zone would be targeted at the largest vehicles, whilst not affecting car owners and minimising the impact on business.
    • To investigate the benefit of variable speed limits or reduced speed on the Western Approach and how we might improve traffic flows through better network management.
    • To encourage the take up of low emission vehicles, especially within bus/taxi/SCC fleet.
    • To develop green infrastructure across the city and in particular a Green Corridor along the Western approach (and we will ensure this forms part of a revised Local Plan), to not only tackle air quality but improve wellbeing.

Cllr Jeremy Moulton said:

“Tackling air quality will be a key focus for a new Conservative Council. We will prioritise council resources in this vitally important area, making sure we take full advantage of government grants that are being made available to councils. As a Freemantle Councillor I know how important this issue is to my constituents who are increasingly concerned about the health impacts of poor air quality. As chairman of the council’s scrutiny panel in 2014 I set up a dedicated council inquiry into air quality and this has generated huge local interest and a raft of ideas for tackling the problem. As council Leader I would make sure that these ideas translate into real action.”

Elizabeth Truss MP said:

“It was great to be invited by Jeremy and his fellow Conservative councillors to hear about their ambitious plans for improving air quality in Southampton. We want great cities like Southampton to be clean and attractive places to live and work – that’s why we’re taking action to tackle air pollution.

Our Clean Air Zones are targeted at the largest vehicles, whilst not affecting car owners and minimising the impact on business. We want to ensure hardworking people can continue to drive into city centres and by targeting action at the most polluting coaches, taxis, buses and lorries we will encourage the use of cleaner vehicles and improve the environment.”

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