SOUTHAMPTON City Council is dropping its plans for a clean air zone.

The scheme, which could have seen commercial vehicles charged £100 a day to enter the city, has been replaced by non-charging measures which the council says will bring air quality levels to within legal limits before 2020.

The plans will be discussed at a special cabinet meeting on January 22.

The shock move comes after months of planning and a consultation process which saw 4,300 residents back plans to charge vehicles.

The measures had proved controversial, and Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith said they would "finish businesses".

Now the city council is proposing methods including regulating buses to ensure they meet the highest standards, removing the most environmentally unfriendly taxis from the roads, encouraging taxi firms to use electric vehicles, and reducing private vehicle use.

A report says: "An economic assessment has been able to demonstrate these measures offer value for money according to the net present value.

"The total cost for delivering these measures is £2.9M and the Plan seeks to secure these funds from the government’s Clean Air Zone Implementation Fund and Clean Air Fund."