IT WAS good to see that Royston Smith is standing up for his constituents by opposing the proposed Southampton charging zone for HGVs, coaches, and taxis. 

This proposal is not popular with many people as it falls far short of anything that would make the air clean, as the accompanying literature states, it will lead to an average 6.5% drop in NO2 levels, which is just enough to go from a level of 42 to just below the permitted 40 micrograms per cubic metre. 

This is less than the error in measurement!

Despite this tiny saving, it will cause severe financial problems for firms that will be affected by it as I found out first-hand when attending a meeting on this in Totton

One small HGV firm’s owner said he would have to lay off several drivers if the charge came in and he is one of many. 

There is a general trend towards lower levels of exhaust pollutants as cleaner vehicles are replacing older, less clean ones. 

Why are we so fixated on getting below an arbitrary limit a few years earlier? 

It’s all down to an EU directive and fear of getting fined. As we are leaving, you might think that we could let common sense prevail, but alas we seem incapable of doing so.

A non-charging option would be a much better choice, but I suspect that charging is preferred as it will eventually include private vehicles in future years, once the principle has been established. 

Derek Tipp
Netley Marsh