Councils rise to the challenge of Clean Air Day
Thursday 21 June is Clean Air Day. It’s an ideal moment to pause and think about the impact of air pollution on our health, what we might do to tackle it, and how we can spread the word about its dangers.
Latest research shows that 234 deaths in Buckinghamshire in 2016 were directly attributed to poor air quality and the annual cost to the UK of air pollution is in the region of £20 billion. As well as this 25% of all car journeys in the UK are less than two miles. As a nation, if we all walked those short journeys we would burn 3.6 billion calories and save £16m in fuel, all while improving air quality.
Liz Walsh Cabinet Member for Healthy Communities (Chiltern District Council) says:
“I fully support the Clean Air Day campaign which is a great initiative to raise awareness of the dangers of air pollution and encourage everyone to be a bit more green.
“Small things like turning your car engine off when in traffic or waiting to pick someone up can make a big difference if we all do it, so I encourage everyone to think about what they can do this Clean Air Day, and indeed every day.”
Sir Beville Stanier Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste (Aylesbury Vale District Council) says: “Public awareness of air pollution is on the increase, but there’s a long way to go to ensure we’re all better at protecting ourselves. This campaign is designed to help the public find out more about the issues surrounding air pollution and how everyone can make a difference.”
Poor air quality is a problem which affects all areas within Buckinghamshire and as such officers and councillors from Buckinghamshire County Council and the four District Councils, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Chiltern District Council, South Bucks District Council and Wycombe District Council are working together to increase awareness of the local and national picture, to identify good practices across the county.
“Together with the districts we met in May for the county’s first ever Air Quality conference to explore joined up working, maximising the health benefits of clean air for residents. Clean Air Day is an important first step for us in tackling these issues” says Bill Chapple OBE Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment (Buckinghamshire County Council).
All five councils will be participating in Clean Air Day where staff will be encouraged to either walk or cycle to work, car share, park and stride or to use public transport. We will also be making individual pledges on what actions we will take on the day in addition to promoting the day through social media. Messages promoting Clean Air Day have also been displayed on all major routes into Aylesbury town centre on the electronic road signs with a message highlighting what action motorists can take to improve air quality on the day itself.
More information on Clean Air Day is available on their website at www.cleanairday.org.uk.