PLANS for a “business as usual” approach to tackling clean air on the edge of Southampton have been approved by council chiefs.

New Forest District Council agreed at its cabinet that its proposals to keep things as they were would allow it to meet clean air compliance levels by next year.

It’s now due to be sent to central government on December 31 where it will be officially approved.

Cllr Alison Hoare, environment chief, said: “As stated in our Final Plan we will continue to work to maintain and improve air quality throughout the New Forest District and take the opportunity to work with neighbouring authorities in relation to air quality for the benefit of our residents.”

The plan’s signing off comes as the council has been tasked, along with Southampton City Council, by Westminster to lower the level of nitrogen dioxide levels in the area to the compliance level of below 40 micrograms per cubic air metre.

However, the district authority’s plan is only for a small section of road – 800m of the A35 as it leaves Southampton towards Totton – and its plan is an addition to the city council’s.

The authority claims that the stretch of road is currently just over the 40mg level, and will be at 35.8mg by the end of next year. In 2015, the level was measured at 44.1mg.

Southampton’s draft plan will be revealed on January 16 at its overview and scrutiny panel. The plan also looked at the roads around the A35, such as the A326 and A36, to see if other roads were also above the 40mg level. But it was found they were not.

Southampton’s draft plan, which will be announced next month, could include a commercially charging clean air zone in the city boundaries. If the chargeable zone is implemented, lorries, buses and coaches could all be billed up to £100 a day to enter the city.