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On Thursday 16 June Clean Air Day will see schools, workplaces and communities across the UK running activities and taking action to inspire people to act and cut down the air pollution we cause.
In line with this year’s theme ‘air pollution dirties every organ in the body’, the day aims to encourage people to take simple steps to protect their health, their families’ health, and children’s health from air pollution.
Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to our health, no matter who you are or where you live. It can harm every organ in your body and can shorten our lives, contribute towards chronic illness and put us more at risk from COVID-19.
When we breathe polluted air, it can inflame the lining of our lungs and move into our bloodstream ending up in the heart and brain, causing lung disease, heart disease, dementia and strokes.
In Warrington, we are working to become carbon neutral by 2030, with many targets from our Green Energy Strategy focusing on reducing air pollution and improving the quality of the air we breathe.
Locally, on Clean Air Day, the council is working to raise awareness of the benefits of cleaner air. This includes public health teams providing resources and advice to schools, Bikeright teams carrying out cycle training at local primary schools, and supporting a continued campaign to inspire people to make their own green pledges through the Commitment To Act project. Alongside this, the council is committed to longer-term strategic plans to tackle air quality, through its Local Transport Plan, progressing with the all-electric bus fleet (ZEBRA) and improving infrastructure to support more people to be able to walk and cycle.
Tackling poor air quality
Air quality improvement initiatives include transforming the way people travel around Warrington by reducing car-reliance and traffic congestion, which will help to reduce local air pollution caused by vehicle emissions.
These schemes include investment in public and active transport infrastructure through the new electric bus depot, which will have the capability of accommodating an all-electric bus fleet, and the council’s Active Travel Fund where a number of schemes to encourage walking and cycling in the town are planned.
People driving their own personal car are also being encouraged to make the switch to electric vehicles with the improvement of electric charge points, both in Time Square multi-storey car park and more generally in Warrington. The all-electric Car Club, in partnership with Co Wheels, is also giving residents the option to leave their car entirely and take advantage of a pay-as-you-go electric vehicle.
There are simple steps we can all take to improve our health and cut down on the air pollution we cause and use our voices to fight for a cleaner air future, such as walk short distance trips and leave the car at home when you can, and when you do have to take the car, make sure you don’t idle.
Cllr Janet Henshaw, cabinet member for sustainability and climate change, said: “Air pollution affects everyone and can lead to both long and short term effects, with young children, older people and people with health conditions particularly who are at more risk.
“Everybody can have a positive impact on improving air quality, and if everyone makes one small change, this will add up and make a big difference. Alongside the work the council has been doing to clean up our air, we can use this day to get involved and really make some changes to improve our health and environment.
“We are using Clean Air Day to highlight the steps we are taking as a council on our journey to carbon neutrality, highlighting the health benefits of cleaner air, alongside also providing support to help our residents and communities make cleaner, greener choices.”
Cllr Dr David Ellis, Chair of the Warrington’s independent Climate Emergency Commission, said: “Clean Air Day is a fantastic day which will inspire residents and businesses to understand what they can do to reduce air pollution, and limit its impact on their health and that of others.”
“I hope we can use the momentum of Clean Air Day to make long-standing changes to reduce our carbon footprint, improve air quality in our local area and create a healthy future for future generations.”
For more information on Clean Air Day and how you can get involved, visit: cleanairday.org.uk.
Notes to editors
Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign, engaging thousands of people at of events, and reaching millions more through the media. This year Clean Air Day will be taking place on 16 June 2022. Led by Global Action Plan, Clean Air Day brings together communities, businesses, schools and the health sector to: