Residents, businesses and visitors on the Isle of Wight will benefit from fewer older, more polluting vehicles travelling on the island’s roads when Portsmouth’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) launches in November 2021.
Portsmouth City Council is offering grants from the £3.2M Clean Air Fund to owners of vehicles that will need to pay when travelling within the zone. This government funding will help drivers to upgrade or retrofit their vehicles, making them cleaner and greener and is open to anyone who regularly travels within the CAZ, even if the business is based outside Portsmouth.
The most polluting vehicles that travel within the boundary of the Clean Air Zone will be charged. In the Portsmouth CAZ, these are buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and heavy goods vehicles that don’t meet Euro 6 emissions standards (if diesel) or Euro 4 emissions standards (if petrol). Any drivers or operators of these ‘non-compliant’ vehicles can apply for the grant at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/cleanairzone.
Portsmouth City Council was issued with a ministerial directive in March 2020 to introduce a Class B charging CAZ in the south west of the city as soon as possible to bring forward compliance with legal limits for air pollution to 2022. The area of the CAZ has been thoroughly investigated to make sure air pollution levels are reduced in the shortest possible time.
Newer, cleaner vehicles and personal cars and vans will not be charged, and there are also some specific vehicle exemptions. Applications for funding are available now, but this summer the government will add details of Portsmouth’s CAZ to their online vehicle checker, for people to find out whether they will be charged to drive their vehicle in the zone.
Anyone wishing to apply for a grant can visit www.portsmouth.gov.uk/cleanairzone. As part of the application process people will need to show evidence of how regularly they enter the CAZ, how long they’ve been trading for and details of their non-compliant vehicle(s). Anyone who successfully receives a grant can retrofit or upgrade their older, more polluting vehicle(s). This means drivers of these vehicles will not be charged to enter the CAZ.
Portsmouth City Council has also appointed a dedicated team of engagement officers to help affected drivers and business owners with applications for grants, as well as answer any queries they may have. Each officer has responsibility for a specific group of affected drivers – taxi and private hire vehicle operators, HGV operators and bus or coach operators. Please call the team for support with applications at 023 9283 4593, or email CAZHelpDesk@portsmouthcc.gov.uk to arrange for one of the officers to visit you.
Cllr Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment, said “It’s really important to make the air we breathe cleaner in Portsmouth, and we also recognise how important it is to support impacted businesses. Although a Clean Air Zone isn’t our preferred approach to improve air quality, the government have told us that this must go ahead this year.
“We’re pleased to offer drivers and business owners of vehicles that will be charged to travel in the Portsmouth Clean Air Zone the opportunity to apply for grants. This money will go towards upgrading or retrofitting older vehicles, so drivers and operators won’t be charged to drive through the CAZ. This will help make vehicles less polluting and improve air quality, not just in Portsmouth but also on the Isle of Wight. To find out more, contact a member of our friendly team for help applying for a grant.”
To apply for support from the Clean Air Fund and for more information about the Clean Air Zone and other air quality measures in Portsmouth, visit www.portsmouth.gov.uk/cleanairzone.