Clean air zone consultation - Frequently asked questions

Clean Air Zone frequently asked questions

What vehicles would a Class B Clean Air Zone charge if implemented and how much will I be charged to enter the Clean Air Zone if my taxi, bus, coach or HGV does not meet the minimum emission standard?

Compliant (i.e. will not be charged to enter if a Clean Air Zone is implemented) and non-compliant (i.e. will be charged to enter if a Clean Air Zone is implemented) vehicles and the current charges used in the technical assessments to evaluate the zone’s effectiveness at reducing pollution.

Vehicle type Compliant vehicles Non-compliant vehicles
Euro Standard of vehicle* Proposed charges per day Euro Standard of vehicle* Proposed charges per day
Private cars, minibuses, light goods vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds
All
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Heavy goods vehicles
Euro VI
£0
Euro I - V
*£100
Coaches
Euro VI
£0
Euro I - V
*£100
Buses
Euro VI
£0
Euro I - V
*£100
Taxis and Private Hire vehicles
Petrol: Euro 4
Diesel: Euro 6
£0
Petrol: Euro 1-3
Diesel: Euro 1-5
*£12.50

*These are NOT the final agreed charge levels; we have used London charging levels as an example at this stage. The charging rates are subject to further review and assessment. Also, feedback from this consultation will have a bearing on what level they might be set at.

What Clean Air Zone boundary is being consulted on?

The boundary for the Clean Air Zone for the preferred option is city wide. The Clean Air Zone charge cannot apply to third party land and the map is indicative at this time. We expect it to be more detailed in any eventual Order or Scheme that identifying land such as Highways England land where we cannot levy a charge (e.g. M27, M271, M3).

We will take care to ensure that prior warning regarding the Clean Air Zone boundary is given, including exactly where the boundary sits.

We will also need to provide alternative routes for vehicles wishing to avoid entering the Clean Air Zone. One of the most important concerns is to avoid any negative impacts on the local network (for example, traffic jams or worsening air quality on routes outside of the Clean Air Zone).

Clean Air Zone boundary

Figure 1 Indicative Clean Air Zone Boundary. This currently follows Southampton City Boundary, however if the scheme were to be introduced a more detailed map would be produced identifying third party land on which Southampton City Council cannot levy a charge (for example on the M271, M27 and M3).

What is a Clean Air Zone?

A Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is an area where targeted action is taken to improve air quality through discouraging the most polluting vehicles from entering the ‘zone’.

Clean Air Zones do not ban or prevent any vehicle from entering the ‘zone’. However, whilst no vehicle will be ‘banned’ those vehicles that do not meet minimum engine standards would need to pay a daily charge for entering the ‘zone’. No charge or levy will be applied to any vehicle that is compliant with the Clean Air Zones standards – essentially newer, cleaner vehicles will be unaffected by these plans.

A framework produced by the Government sets out the principles local authorities should follow when setting up Clean Air Zones in England. It explains the approach that should be taken if introducing a Clean Air Zone to improve air quality, and the types of measures it needs to include.

The Government’s framework identifies two types of Clean Air Zone:

  1. Non-charging - Defined geographic area used as a focus for improving air quality.
  2. Charging - Zones where, in addition to the above, vehicle owners are required to pay a charge to enter, or move within, a zone if they are driving a vehicle that does not meet the particular standard for their vehicle type in that zone.

There are four types of different Clean Air Zones and each of these includes a different group of vehicles that it identifies should be charged if it doesn't meet the minimum emission standards.

Our preferred option is to implement Clean Air Zone B. This does not include private vehicles. It is recognised that by including private vehicles there is a danger that some of the most vulnerable people in our community would be badly affected.

Different types of Clean Air Zone and what they include.

Charging Clean Air Zone class Vehicles potentially included
A
Buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles
B
Buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), taxis and private hire vehicles
C
Buses, coaches, HGVs, large vans, minibuses, small vans/light commercials, taxis and private hire vehicles
D
Buses, coaches, HGVs, large vans, minibuses, small vans/light commercials, taxis and private hire vehicles, cars, motorcycles and mopeds

Minimum emissions standard by vehicle type
Vehicle type Clean Air Zone minimum emission standards
Buses and coaches
Euro VI
Heavy goods vehicles
Euro VI
Vans
Euro 6 (diesel) or Euro 4 (petrol)
Cars
Euro 6 (diesel) or Euro 4 (petrol)
Motorcycles and mopeds (optional)
Euro 3

How will Southampton City Council support those negatively impacted by the introduction of a Clean Air Zone?

Any Clean Air Zone regardless of class or geographic extent would include a range of measures to support local businesses and organisations negatively impacted by the introduction. This will potentially include discounts and exemptions from the charge for vehicles that are demonstrably negatively impacted by the Clean Air Zone. Funds will also be available to support people and business to replace non-compliant vehicles with compliant vehicles. A list of the proposed mitigation measures for each vehicle class is outlined below. These measures will be financed through the Government’s Clean Air Fund once approved.

Proposed Mitigation Measures

Vehicle type Proposed Mitigation Measures
Taxi
Discounts on charge for eligible vehicles. Incentives for upgrading to Clean Air Zone compliant vehicles for eligible vehicles.
Bus
Clean Bus Technology Fund already received to retrofit buses in Southampton with accredited retrofit technology.
Coach
Exemptions and discounts on charge for eligible vehicles. Incentives for upgrading to CAZ compliant vehicles. Access to support for promoting CAZ compliant operations.
Heavy Goods Vehicle
Exemptions and discounts on charge for eligible vehicles. Incentives for upgrading to CAZ compliant vehicles. Access to support for promoting CAZ compliant and low emission logistical operations.

The consultation will help us to identify any other potential possibilities and measures that could be included in the current preferred option.

Why might Southampton need to implement a Clean Air Zone?

Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council have undertaken a study to demonstrate how to bring down levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution to legal levels as soon as possible and by 2020. The New Forest have demonstrated that they will achieve legal levels by 2020. However, the study suggests that current measures to improve air quality in Southampton are unlikely to be enough to comply with legal limits. Therefore further measures must be taken to reduce levels more quickly. Information on the UK and EU air quality limits.

This study has also assessed the ways in which levels of pollution can be brought to legal levels including a range of non-charging Clean Air Zone measures and charging Clean Air Zone options.

What are engine Euro standards and how can I find out what standard my vehicle is?

A vehicle's euro standard, or European emission standard, define acceptable limits for emission of pollutants from engines. When a new Euro standard is introduced, new vehicles manufactured must comply with the limits set. Over a number of years the Euro standard of vehicles has become increasingly stricter. Tables below show how the registration year of a vehicle and its Euro standard match.  However, to get the most accurate euro standard for your vehicle it is advised that you contact the vehicle's manufacturer.

Euro Emission Standards for Passenger Cars and Light Commercial Vehicles

Euro Standard Applied to new passenger care approvals from Applied to most new registrations from
Euro 1
1 July 1992
31 December 1992
Euro 2
1 January 1996
1 January 1997
Euro 3
1 January 2000
1 January 2001
Euro 4
1 January 2005
1 January 2006
Euro 5
1 September 2009
1 January 2011
Euro 6
1 September 2014
1 September 2015*

*Some Euro 5 vehicles still registered from 1 September 2015 – 1 September 2016. All new registrations from 1 September 2016 are Euro 6.

Euro Standards for HGVs, Buses and Coaches

Euro Standard Applied to new passenger car approvals from
Euro I
1992
Euro II
October 1995
Euro III
October 1999
Euro IV
October 2005
Euro V
October 2008
Euro VI
December 2013

Why are the New Forest included in this consultation?

New Forest District Council (NFDC) was also identified by the Government as having to undertake a study to establish how to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels. The area exceeding legal levels in the New Forest is an extension of the area being assessed in Southampton. Therefore, NFDC are now included within Southampton’s assessment and has concluded that the New Forest will be compliant without intervention by 2020. Measures implemented in Southampton will likely deliver additional improvements in nitrogen dioxide concentrations in that area.

How would a charging Clean Air Zone work in Southampton?

If implemented, a Clean Air Zone to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. A network of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will be located across the city to identify vehicles that do not meet minimum emission standards and are required to pay a charge. The charge will be daily. Failure to pay any charge due would result in a fine. Payments will be made using an online payment system which will be operated by Central Government.

Exemptions, discounts and white listed vehicles (including vehicles with accredited retrofit technology) will be managed locally. Relevant information will be relayed to the central Government payment system to ensure any discounts are included.

How would a non-charging Clean Air Zone work in Southampton?

Non-charging options have also been assessed for buses, taxis and coaches. The assessment was based on a Traffic Regulation Condition for buses requiring that all buses operating on routes through Southampton met a minimum Euro VI emission standard. Non-charging measures for taxis (hackney carriage and private hire) include exempting only Clean Air Zone compliant (Euro 4 petrol/Euro 6 diesel) taxis from bus lane enforcement or potentially altering the licensing policy to encourage cleaner vehicles.

Will alternative options proposed during the consultation be considered?

All alternative options to improve air quality in Southampton and the New Forest will be considered. This also includes potential mitigation measures to reduce the economic impact of any scheme introduced in the city.

Will more vehicles be included in a Clean Air Zone over time?

We are working to the national CAZ Framework that sets out a number of classes of Clean Air Zone (see question 'What is a Clean Air Zone?'). The overall aim of any Clean Air Zone is to reduce concentrations of nitrogen dioxide to legal levels as quickly as possible. The Council also has a responsibility to monitor and evaluate the success of the CAZ once it is implemented (most importantly are nitrogen dioxide levels reducing as expected?). In the event that levels of nitrogen dioxide are not improving as anticipated, it is likely that the Government will expect the Council to take further action. This would not necessarily mean including additional vehicle types but measures would depend on research findings and on the situation at the time.

Has the air quality options assessment considered emissions other than road transport?

The air quality assessment evaluates background levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution and contributions to nitrogen dioxide from road transport, Southampton port related emissions, large local industrial sources and rail emissions.

Who is paying for a Clean Air Zone in Southampton?

Central Government’s Clean Air Implementation Fund and Clean Air Funds will be used to fund the Clean Air Zone in Southampton. The CAZ Framework produced by the Government insists that councils use any income from the charge to manage the CAZ and other air quality projects in the city.

What will the income from the Clean Air Zone be used for?

The national CAZ Framework states: The Transport Act 2000 requires any excess revenue that may arise from charges above the cost and operation to be re-invested to facilitate the achievement of local transport policies and these should aim to improve air quality and support delivery of the ambitions of the zone. Such charges may not be used as a form of taxation to raise revenue generally.

Why are private cars not included within the preferred option?

The study indicates that a Class B Clean Air Zone (which includes Buses, Coaches, Taxis and HGVs) is enough to reduce nitrogen dioxide to legal levels. Whilst it is evident that private vehicles, and in particular diesel cars, contribute significantly to emissions, we are steering away from including them in order not to cause any negative economic impact on the most vulnerable members of Southampton’s community.

What is retrofit technology and what does it mean for the Clean Air Zone?

Retrofitting a vehicle is an alternative to buying a new vehicle to meet the standards for a Clean Air Zone. Vehicles that do not meet the minimum emission standards of the Clean Air Zone have the option to retrofit with technology that enables Clean Air Zone compliance by reducing levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions to those equivalent to diesel Euro 6/VI or petrol Euro 4 or better.

There are a range of current retrofitting options, and many new ones arising too. This makes it difficult for purchasers and local authorities to know whether a particular technology is trustworthy. To deal with this issue there is a certification scheme managed by the Energy Savings Trust called the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS). Only vehicles with CVRAS accredited retrofits will meet the requirements of the Clean Air Zone. More information on the CVRAS.

The proposals focus on road transport. Aren’t there other things that contribute to poor air quality? What is being done about them?

This Plan is being introduced in direct response to the Government’s UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations. Road transport is widely recognised as the most significant source of nitrogen dioxide pollution and studies have confirmed this to be the case in Southampton. Focusing our efforts on this particular problem is therefore likely to achieve the quickest and most significant improvement.

However, lowering emissions from other sources will be needed if we want to see further improvements. Southampton City Council published its Air Quality Strategy in 2016 and makes a commitment to support businesses to take responsibility for their contributions to air pollution and to implement improvements. As an example, Planning Policy Guidance is currently being drafted that will promote the use of low emission machinery on construction sites and low nitrogen oxides (NOx) boilers in newly built properties. The Clean Air Network has been introduced to promote best practice amongst businesses and individuals, allowing them to share ideas.

How are the Port contributing to improvements in air quality?

Associated British Ports have produced an Air Quality Strategy that identifies what they intend to do in relation to improving air quality. Associated British Ports Air Quality Strategy.

What are the Government doing to improve air quality?

As well as working in collaboration with Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council to assess the need to implement a local Clean Air Zone (through the UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations) the Government are consulting on a draft Clean Air Strategy. The Government’s consultation is different from our own local consultation that is specifically about the Clean Air Zone in Southampton.

This Government Clean Air Strategy includes actions to improve air quality by reducing pollution from a wider range of sources. The Government Clean Air Strategy consultation is open until 14 August 2018.

When will the Clean Air Zone for Southampton consultation start and finish?

The consultation about a Clean Air Zone in Southampton will start on 21 June and closes on 13 September.

When will decision be made?

Once the consultation closes, the responses and suggestions will be considered and integrated into the Full Business Case where appropriate and will be submitted to the Secretary of State in October 2018, the Government will subsequently review the plan and indicate if approval is to be granted. It is anticipated that formal implementation will begin in early 2019 with delivery by the end of 2019.

When will charging for the Clean Air Zone start?

If the Full Business Case submitted to government is for a charging Clean Air Zone, it is expected that it will commence by the end of 2019.

What are Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council doing to improve air quality?

Actions that Southampton City Council are taking or planning to take to support cleaner air in Southampton. Other measures implemented or planned by New Forest District Council are also detailed.

Other air quality measures implemented or planned in Southampton.

Type Action Description Status
Taxis and Private Hire
Low Emission Taxi Incentive Scheme
Offering an incentive to cover vehicle licensing and other related costs for three years to encourage greater uptake of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.
Active
Taxis and Private Hire
Extension of age limit for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles
Extension of the age limit for low/zero emission vehicles makes them a more attractive vehicle to operate in the long term.
Active
Private Hire
Permitting electric vehicles capable of carrying three to eight passengers a private hire licence
The previous policy only permitted vehicles that can carry four to eight passengers in comfort. Many smaller electric vehicles do not have this capacity. By licensing vehicles that can carry three to eight passengers in comfort, the opportunity for uptake of electric vehicles is increased.
Active
Buses
Clean Bus Technology Fund
Retrofitting up to 145 pre-Euro VI buses with emissions reducing technology.
Active
HGVs
Sustainable Distribution Centre
Offering a location for freight consolidation.
Active
HGVs
Delivery and Service Planning
Offering deliver and service plans advising on best practice to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.
Complete - scope for further work
LGVs
Delivery and Service Planning
Offering deliver and service plans advising on best practice to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.
Complete - scope for further work
Electric vehicles
City centre parking season ticket concession
Electric vehicles are eligible for a 90% discount on an annual city centre parking season ticket.
Active
Electric vehicles
EV Charging Infrastructure
Installed 30 EV charge points across 6 city centre Multi Story Car Parks
Active
Electric vehicles
Promoting the use of electric vehicles
Campaign to promote EV charging infrastructure and providing electricity for free for an introductory period.
Active
Electric vehicles
Itchen Bridge toll exemption
Free passage over the Itchen Bridge for EV drivers. Currently undergoing consultation, decision in late spring 2018.
Consultation
Council Fleet
20% electric by 2020
Procurement of low emission vehicles in council and partner fleets.
Active
Council Fleet
Eco-safe driver training for SCC fleet drivers
Provision of eco driving for council fleet drivers to improve efficiency and reduce emissions
Under development
Cycling
Improved cycling infrastructure
Funding awarded to provide enhanced cycle routes along the A33 Western Approach and to install virtual messaging signs (VMS) and a green wall.
Active
Cycling
Improved cycling infrastructure
Funding awarded to provide enhanced cycle routes along key east-west and north-south corridors and promote their use. Improvements for the Totton-Southampton cycle route also funded.
To be implemented 2018-2020
Engagement
My Journey
Sustainable travel communication campaign promoting active travel and low emission technology. The brand associated with the 2017-2020 Access Fund to increase sustainable travel in the South Hampshire Area.
Active
Engagement
Schools
Access Funding for officers to engage with schools to educate and communicate air quality issues and solutions.
Active
Engagement
Travel Planning
Access Funding for officers to engage with local businesses to educate and communicate air quality issues and solutions.
Active
Engagement
Clean Air Network
A network to facilitate and enhance discussion of good air quality practice among local stakeholders.
Active
Engagement
An online warning system airAlert
Alerts for registered users when air quality is predicted to be poor.
Active
Engagement
No-idling Campaign
Campaign to reduce unnecessary engine idling at key locations around the city. Includes social media a billboard presence.
Active
Planning Policy
Air Quality Supplementary Planning Document
Setting the minimum standard for good air quality practice in new development including reducing household emissions, improving cycle network connectivity and encouraging low emission and active transport to be incorporated into development design.
Under development
Council Strategy
Clean Air Strategy
A long term (2016-2025) strategy which outlines the council's strategy for improving air quality.
Active
Council Strategy
Cycling Strategy
A 10 year strategy for improving cycling infrastructure and encouraging uptake of cycling as a mode of travel.
Active
Council Strategy
Health and Wellbeing Strategy
2017-2025 council strategy for improving local health and wellbeing, including "deliver a cleaner environment through a clean air zone with vehicle access restrictions to the city".
Active
Clean Air Strategy
Clean Air Day
Air quality awareness raising event of the benefits of clean air, and to help everyone find a way to contribute to a better air quality in the city.
Active

Other air quality measures planned or implemented in New Forest

Type Action Description Status
Council Fleet Emissions

Procurement of low emission vehicles where possible in council fleet
Active
Council Fleet Emissions
Eco-safe driver training for NFDC fleet drivers
Provision of eco driving for NFDC council fleet drivers to improve efficiency and reduce emissions
Completed
Electric vehicle charging points
Installation of electric charge points in council owned car parks
Council to engage with Hampshire County Council scheme to review car parks with a view to install electric vehicle charge points by 2020
Active
Hospital bus scheme
Provision of a dedicated bus route between Totton and Southampton Hospital
Scheme under development by local councillor with support from a local bus company.
Under consideration
Engagement
Schools
Working in partnership with Hampshire County Council to engage in sustainable transport plans, clean air walking route and local air quality monitoring schemes
Active
Engagement
No-idling campaign
Campaign to reduce unnecessary engine idling at key locations around the District - currently active in Totton and Lyndhurst. Banner, signs and media campaign
Active
Engagement
Clean Air Network
To support Southampton City Council in the Clean Air Network scheme for residents and businesses within New Forest
Active
Planning policy
Air quality supplementary planning document
Setting the minimum standard for good air quality practices for new developments
To be developed
Council Strategy
Clean Air Strategy
A long term strategy outlining the council's strategy for improving air quality across the district
To be developed
Council Strategy
Health and Wellbeing Strategy
A long term strategy outlining the council's strategy for improving health and wellbeing across the district, to include cycling and walking strategies To be developed