RESIDENTS and people travelling to work in Cambridge are being encouraged to walk, cycle, use public transport or share car journeys more often to mark Clean Air Day.
Cambridge City Council is supporting the national event on Thursday 20 June by asking people to make pledges to help improve air quality in Cambridge.
Pledges that people could take for Clean Air Day include:
- Leaving their car at home and using alternative transport such as bus or train
- Switching off their vehicle’s engine whenever possible when stationary
- Walking with children to school and using quieter routes to avoid polluted main roads
- Walking or cycling to work meetings
- Investigating car sharing opportunities when a car is the only option
People are being invited to share their pledges on social media using the hashtag #CleanAirDay.
Every year more than 36,000 people in the UK die from air pollution in the UK. Air pollution has been linked to low birth weight and premature birth. It can affect children’s lung development, can cause heart and lung diseases and potentially increases the risk of getting dementia.
More information on this and other issues surrounding air pollution can be found at the Clean Air Day website www.cleanairday.org.uk
Earlier this year the council signed up to the Oxford Charter for Cleaner Air, in order to urge the government to provide more backing to reduce dangerous air pollution. This consolidates the work the council is doing to improve air quality in the city, including its Air Quality Action Plan 2018-23.
The council also declared a Climate Emergency earlier this year, calling on the government, industry and regulators to do more so Cambridge and the rest of the country can become carbon neutral.
The Air Quality Action Plan, which has been developed jointly with the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridgeshire County Council and Public Health England, sets out priorities over the next five years, for improving areas of poor air quality and maintaining areas of good air quality across the city as it continues to grow.
Actions in the plan fall into three main categories:
- Reducing local traffic emissions as quickly as possible to meet national objectives;
- Using planning policies to ensure new communities are designed to make it easy for people to use environmentally-friendly modes of transport;
- Educating people about the health impacts of air quality and encouraging them to make changes to their lifestyles, including by shifting to more active modes of transport like walking and cycling.
Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, said: “We fully support the aims of the Clean Air Day, as working to improve air quality is a priority for the council.“Poor air quality can have a seriously detrimental effect on people’s health, which is why it is vital we take steps to ensure the air we all breathe remains safe for everyone.
“Our Air Quality Action Plan sets out some of the ways the council aims to ensure this in the coming years. But we can all play a part in improving Cambridge’s air quality – and pledging to take part in Clean Air Day is a great way to start.”