Council marks first National Clean Air Day

News release from 15 June 2017, 4:50pm

The first ever National Clean Air Day today (Thursday 15 June) will see local councils, schools, hospitals, workplaces and communities across the UK taking part in activities to promote better air quality.

To mark the occasion, Cambridge City Council is attending a public feedback day organised by Public Health England at the Cambridge Professional Development Centre in Foster Road.

This event gives attendees the chance to find out how local councils are working to reduce air pollution and promote active travel, identify local innovations, and work in partnership with organisations to improve air quality.

As part of National Clean Air Day, local residents and groups are being encouraged to make one of several pledges to help increase awareness of air quality issues. These pledges include:

  • Leaving their car at home on National Clean Air Day
  • Switching off their vehicle’s engine whenever they can
  • Walking or cycling with children to school on
  • Sharing tips to cut air pollution with others

More information can be found at www.cleanairday.org.uk

The council is seeking to improve air quality in Cambridge in a number of ways as part of its emerging Air Quality Action Plan.

As part of this plan, taxi drivers in the city are to be incentivised to drive electric vehicles, and a Government grant has recently been awarded to the council to install electric rapid charging points for taxis with the aim of all taxis in Cambridge being hybrid or fully electric in 10 years.

Within its own fleet, the council is phasing in the use of electric vehicles to replace diesel, with a further six new electric Nissan vans being purchased this year for its Streets and Open Spaces service team.

The council is also currently developing a bid with Cambridgeshire County Council for funding to install on-street residential charging points for electric vehicles.

Other themes of the council’s Air Quality Action Plan include:

  • Continuing to improve emissions from the vehicles being driven around Cambridge;
  • Continuing to improve access to public transport in the city;
  • Promoting smarter travel choices;
  • Lowering emissions from buildings;
  • Managing emissions from new developments within the city through the planning process.

In addition, the council’s new Tree Strategy aims to increase tree numbers and quality throughout the city, with attendant benefits for air quality. Each year the council plants 250 trees on its own land, gives away a further 200 to local residents for planting in private gardens under its ‘Trees For Babies’ scheme, and proactively manages more than 30,000 existing trees in public spaces across the city.

Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Environmental Services and City Centre, said: “We fully support the aims of the first National Clean Air Day, as working to improve air quality is a priority for the council – better air quality can make a real difference to people’s health and quality of life.

“I would encourage everyone to make a pledge and do their bit to help make a difference on National Clean Air Day.”