SOUTHAMPTON is home to two of Europe’s busiest ports, hosting among the world’s largest cruise liners and container ships.

These vessels have massive diesel engines with main or auxiliary engines running continuously, collectively producing vast amounts of toxic diesel fumes and carbon emissions day and night.

Southampton’s air is dangerously polluted (as reported in the Daily Echo), with alarming levels of PM 2.5 particles that routinely exceed WHO and EU safety limits (and remained high during lockdown).

Despite the major source of diesel emissions being from shipping and from the diesel trucks and diesel trains serving the container port, Southampton City Council have opposed the short extension of the runway at Southampton Airport whilst granting permission for a fifth cruise terminal.

The cruise industry is spending tens of billions of pounds on new ships which still use diesel engines.

And Associated British Ports continue to invest in expanding container operations without installing any shore-to-ship electricity hook-ups.

The British Ports Association say shore-to-ship power is necessary for decarbonisation – a discussion that seems to be firmly stuck on paper with no action in sight.

Could Southampton City Council please explain their logic for opposing the airport planning application whilst endorsing a continued expansion of both ports, given that these ports, not Southampton Airport, make a sizeable contribution to the UK’s overall carbon emissions whilst blighting local air quality?

And could SCC please also explain what steps are being taken to meet the decarbonisation and pollution targets?

How will switching to electric cars and encouraging cycling make any difference at all given the massive scale of these diesel emissions pouring out continuously across the city?

Isn’t it unethical to encourage people to do aerobic exercise in such polluted air?

Geoff Frampton

Bitterne Park