Following ministerial direction to improve air quality, Portsmouth City Council has agreed to introduce a Class B Clean Air Zone which will apply to buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and heavy goods vehicles. The decision was made at a Cabinet meeting last night.
In a letter to Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson CBE, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Bob said:
“I support your efforts to meet these targets and improve air quality in Portsmouth. Whilst I can fully understand the need to comply with the ministerial direction – and also to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels – I am concerned that the introduction of a Class B Clean Air Zone would have a short to medium-term adverse impact on vehicles travelling to the Isle of Wight.”
Bob is concerned that the Island’s smaller haulage firms and coach companies visiting the Island, in particular, may not be able to undertake the scale of modernisation required in the short space of time between now and the introduction of the Clean Air Zone.
The MP has urged Portsmouth City Council to consider whether exemptions could be applied in respect of vehicles travelling to and from the Isle of Wight – at least in the short to medium term.
“I am very happy to work with Portsmouth City Council to convince Government of the need to take a flexible approach that has regard for the particular circumstances relating to Portsmouth’s role as a gateway to and from the Island, whilst also securing much-needed improvements to air quality in the local area”.
Seely has asked the council to consider the particular needs and requirements of the Isle of Wight and how the Island can work with Portsmouth to deliver improved air quality and meet the Government’s requirements.