ELECTRIC vehicles may soon be able to cross a Southampton toll bridge for free under plans that seek to improve the city’s air quality.
The Itchen Bridge, which connects Woolston to the city centre, currently features a charge for motorists of between 50p and £25 depending on vehicle type and time of crossing.
However, Southampton City Council is considering ditching the charge for electric vehicles to encourage their uptake and improve air quality.
According to the BBC, councillors expect to see a loss of around £32,000 in the first year as electric vehicles account for just one per cent of road traffic.
The government has told the authority that it has to introduce a clean air zone to the city by 2020 in a bid to reduce pollution.
If the scheme is approved, the tolls could be removed from March 2018. A decision is reportedly expected on December 19.
Toll-free crossings for electric vehicles may not be a permanent fixture, though. A report due to be discussed by the council’s cabinet says that “if the uptake of electric vehicles became such that there was a significant impact on traffic using the route, then the amendment to the toll order would need to be reconsidered”.
Approximately seven million vehicle cross the bridge annually, bringing in revenues of around £3.2 million.