July 13, 2022

Clean Air Zone report November 2021 to February 2022

Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. Every year, between 28,000-36,000 deaths in the UK are thought to be caused by air pollution.

Studies have shown that long-term exposure reduces life expectancy and exasperates pre-existing conditions such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Short-term exposure to elevated levels of air pollution can also cause a range of effects including exacerbation of asthma, effects on lung function, increases in respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions and mortality.

As part of our work improving air quality in Portsmouth we measure how the Clean Air Zone is affecting traffic and vehicles in our city.

The latest Clean Air Zone (CAZ) statistics, 29 November 2021 – 28 February 2022

  • 4,056 vehicles were charged to enter the CAZ, which is 0.12% of unique daily vehicles travelling in zone
  • 1,421 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) were issued, which is 35% of chargeable vehicles
  • Average number of PCNs issued by day for this period was 14, which is down from 17 per day when CAZ launched

Further detail can be found in the Portsmouth Air Quality Quarterly Review.

To support affected businesses, we have distributed loans to help those most impacted to upgrade their vehicles. Since 2019 through the Clean Air Fund we have supported the upgrade of:

Trucks Clean Air Zone Portsmouth

66 HGVs

Clean Air Bus Portsmouth

162 buses and coaches

Private vehicles Portsmouth

119 taxis and private hire vehicles (including 26 Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles)

Reducing air pollution in the city

We have adjusted some traffic signals in the city reduce the wait times at junctions. Less congestion at the junction equals less idling and better air quality.

You can play your part by switching your engine off when you’re waiting at traffic lights, in traffic queues and when dropping off and collecting people.

You can also consider making your next vehicle an electric vehicle, we have around 100 on street charging points in the city. The estimated carbon savings from phase 1 are 122.7 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide or equivalent) in the first three years. We are also installing rapid charge points across the city for the exclusive use of the taxi and private hire trade.

In 2022 we ran a Workplace Sustainable Travel Fund. The aim of the scheme is to reduce single occupancy car journeys and encourage cycling and walking for both business journeys and travel to and from work, thereby improving air quality. The 2021/22 fund was distributed as grants of up to £4,000, with at least 10% match funding required. We were able to award funding to 22 applicants – 17 with the full funding requested and 5 part-funded. Successful applicants purchased items such as pool bikes, e-cargo bikes, bike shelters, cycling and walking accessories (helmets, hi-vis, waterproof clothing) and CCTV to ensure safe storage.

We’ve also made our refuse vehicles greener and have teamed up with First Solent and Hampshire County Council to secure £6.5 million to replace 35 diesel buses with new electric buses on three key route across the city, improving air quality across four of Portsmouth’s air pollution hot spots.