HAVING seen a letter from Cllr Furnell (Echo, July 3) and the more recent letter from Cllr Peter Baillie (July 5) which defends Cllr Galton voting against a consultation on the preferred option of a Class B Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for Southampton, I am astounded.

During this year’s local elections I attended a special hustings organised by the Western Docks Consultation Forum where Steven Galton was grappling on an election platform with other candidates on air quality issues.

Millbrook ward is one of the worst polluted wards in Southampton, and Cllr Galton assured the hustings he was doing everything to combat the problem which is killing hundreds of Southampton residents – affecting the youngest, oldest and poorest. At the hustings Clean Air Zones were briefly mentioned and the potential costs to cabbies driving in the city. At no time did Steven Galton say he was against the idea of Clean Air Zones or charging for vehicles to enter any zone.

His emphasis at the hustings was that he had worked with other parties including Keith Taylor MEP (Green Party) and this had impressed me.

However, I can assure readers it is a fact that Keith Taylor supports charging CAZs as one of the quickest and most effective tools for protecting the public from polluted air. The government also acknowledges this truth, but ministers are not supporting the introduction of charging CAZs. In effect Cllr Galton is now working against Keith Taylor.

The Green Party has been campaigning for decades for a park-and-ride scheme; we are aware that neither Labour nor the Tories in Southampton have the political will and have missed every opportunity in the past to attain the substantial parking areas needed around the city for such a scheme.

Had the government not spent so much taxpayers' money in the courts fighting environmental groups over air quality issues, they might have afforded to subsidise initiatives like a park-and-ride for Southampton.

I advise residents to visit the Southampton council's website and take part in the consultation which runs until September 13; this is a chance to view the proposal in more detail and note that there is provision for certain exemptions.

Joe Cox

Southampton & District Green Party