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Hampshire County Council air quality plan to pay drivers £3,000 to give up cars

MOTORISTS could be paid £3,000 by Hampshire County Council to give up their cars in favour of more environmentally sustainable transport.

The “mobility credit” scheme has been proposed among a raft of initiatives to improve air quality in built-up areas.

It would award money to participants who give up their vehicles to purchase bicycles, electric scooters, join car clubs or pay for public transport or taxis.

It is being considered as part of a consultation into a new HCC Local Transport Plan which will form core policies until 2050.

According to the document, “very significant shifts in travel behaviour are required” to address air quality and pollution issues amid “high” car use in Hampshire. It said the average annual daily traffic flow on the county’s roads grew by 17% between 2000 and 2018.

Traffic queue congestion (45960073)
Traffic queue congestion (45960073)

“Electric vehicles are only part of the solution,” the report continued. “There are limited supplies of carbon neutral electricity.

“Research suggests at least a 10% reduction in car mileage will be required to achieve carbon neutrality, even if we wholly switch to electric or hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.”

Despite more than 30% of commuting trips in Hampshire being less than five miles, it said 65% of these were undertaken by private car.

The report also highlighted that many live in rural or semi-rural areas, like the New Forest, and have fewer opportunities for shifting to public transport.

HCC deputy leader Cllr Rob Humby said: “Our focus will be on transport access for everyone in our communities, and ensuring those who may have fewer or only more expensive travel and transport options, compared to other places, are not left behind.

“On this point, Hampshire’s emerging thoughts on mobility credits differ from those in

other parts of the country, as they would target specific groups to ensure access to areas of employment and education.”

Cllr Humby, also HCC cabinet member for economy, transport and environment, added: “It’s important to highlight this is the start of a conversation on emerging concepts as part of developing our next LTP, with formal consultation scheduled for later on this summer.

“We are keen to engage with local communities, organisations, businesses and stakeholders before any proposals are taken forward.”

More information on the plan is available at www.hants.gov.uk/transport/localtransportplan

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