A CAMPAIGNER has suggested Southend city bosses should seriously look at introducing an ultra-low emission zone -and extend it across all of south Essex.

Jon Fuller, a member of South East Essex Friends of the Earth, said the group “vigorously supports” clean air schemes across town and city centres.

The zones are areas where a fee is charged for driving the most polluting vehicles.

Mr Fuller said a congestion chargestyle scheme would help tackle climate change and air pollution.

He said: “Our group recognises we need to reduce car use if we are to allow public transport, cycling and walking to thrive.

“Our preference is for a ULEZ in town and city centres in south Essex because we don’t want to divert traffic from arterial roads, such as the A13 and A127, to minor roads.

“If a congestion charge was implemented, it won’t make a difference because people will move to less major roads to avoid the cost.

“However, becoming a ULEZ will encourage people to get rid of their old cars, such as diesel motors, for a more environmentally-friendly model.

“In turn, this will help improve the air quality in south Essex.”

Mr Turner said the idea of implementing congestion charges has come up before, when he joined the Green Party in 2014.

But Kevin Blake, deputy leader of Basildon Council who is responsible for environment, carbon reduction and waste enforcement, does not believe a ULEZ scheme would work in south Essex.

He said: “As a council, we’ve addressed the issue of tackling climate change and air quality by rolling out more electric vehicle charging points.

“Basildon has more electric vehicles than any other place in Essex.

“We’ll continue to do our bit, and I can assure you there’s no need to become ULEZ. It’s simply not going to happen.”

In May, Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois condemned an expansion to ULEZ, which could see it edge closer to south Essex and the A127.