Clean Air Zone survey
Earlier this year Portsmouth City Council announced we need to join the fight for cleaner air as early indications showed air pollution was getting worse. Like other cities across the UK, Central Government also requires an improvement in air quality in the shortest possible time and we are seeing an increasing number of other cities preparing for the possibility of a charging clean air zone. PCC is considering all possible options that could improve air quality in the city and achieve Government’s requirements. One option that Government requires us to consider is the introduction of a charging Clean Air Zone covering Portsea Island. The survey will inform the strategy that will be put to Government later this year. If a charging clean air zone is imposed we will launch a detailed consultation in the autumn.
Stop engine idling
Under new rules to combat air pollution, drivers who leave their engines running could be slapped with on-the-spot fines of £100.
The government hopes this will also and provide guidance to local authorities on their anti-idling powers which will enable them to enforce the law more effectively.
Currently, the penalty, which hasn’t changed since 2002, is £20 which increases to £40 if not paid within 28 days.
The transport department said poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and every minute, an idling car produces enough exhaust emissions to fill 150 balloons with harmful chemicals, including cyanide, NOx and PM2.5.
Portsmouth City Council Air Quality market research
The Environment Act (1995) requires us to regularly review and assess air quality in Portsmouth. Areas where an exceedance of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) occurs, or is likely to occur, are known as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs). As the local authority we must put measures in place to improve air quality in these areas. In Portsmouth there are five AQMAs (eight were revoked in 2009). Only one area, AQMA 6, currently exceeds government levels of NO2.
To support this work we have launched two surveys, and we would be grateful if you could complete the surveys and share with anyone you feel would like to contribute.
Portsmouth Travel Survey
This survey will help us to understand how and why people are travelling through Portsmouth’s AQMAs, and how open people are to using other forms of transport.
We will use the information to inform our travel and transport schemes, which aim to improve air quality in Portsmouth. Responses will also be used to inform our campaign around anti-idling.
Portsmouth Air Quality Survey
This survey will help us understand what people already know about pollution, so that we can plan activities and messages to help inform others around the issues of pollution.
Both surveys close on Friday 21st September. Participants who chose to do so, will be entered into a draw to win one of two fitbit activity watches.
In February 2018 the environmental pressure group ClientEarth won its third legal action in the High Court against the government. The judge ruled that DEFRA’s plans are ‘inadequate’ and ‘unlawful’ and directed that DEFRA must compel 33 local authorities to achieve legal limits as soon as possible. Portsmouth is at the top of that list. Portsmouth City Council (PCC) is now urgently reviewing its plans and will be obliged to introduce quantifiable measures to ensure that air pollution is reduced below legal limits as soon as possible.
Deaths from air pollution. In 2016 Portsmouth’s former Director of Public Health estimated that 600 early deaths occur in Portsmouth each year linked to air pollution. In PCC’s Air Quality Strategy published in 2017 PCC stated that the number of deaths was 95. FOOPA identified that the cause of the massive difference between 600 and 95 is that 95 is the number of deaths attributed by Public Health England solely to small particulates (PM2.5) such as from diesel engines and PCC had wrongly conflated this into a total number. PCC had omitted to consider the mortality from nitrogen oxides (NOX). We have asked Dr Jason Horsley, the current Director of Public Health, to ensure that all future PCC reports make this clear.
Engine Idling. Unnecessary engine idling is illegal and it is common to see car drivers parked by the side of the road with engines running and HGVs waiting for an Isle of Wight ferry to have its engine running. However, PCC prefers to limit itself to polite persuasion to drivers to desist and refuses to consider enforcement.