Cutting air pollution must be a Government priority, says leading councillor

Cleaner air

A call for the Government to commit to urgently cut air pollution levels in the UK made today by a national group of 175 doctors and health professionals has been backed by the Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council.

The Group has warned that that the “severe pressures” the NHS is under this winter are being made worse by conditions triggered by air pollution, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and called for additional funding to be provided.

Councillor Sally Longford, the City Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, said: “Air pollution is increasing the risk of respiratory illnesses that our children and elderly people are particularly vulnerable to, which is putting massive pressure on an already stretched NHS this winter.

“Here in Nottingham, we’ve done more than most to reduce air pollution levels in the city with our electric tram network, low emission buses and taxis and measures to tackle car idling, particularly outside schools.”

“But we all need to do more to tackle what is becoming a national health crisis, starting with the Government making a firm commitment and setting hard targets to cut air pollution.”  

A recent national report by Compare the Market highlighted Nottingham as being the UK city with the cleanest air. Nottingham also recently won the title of Climate Champions in the national Guardian Public Service awards as well as Overall Winner, recognising its ambition to be the first carbon neutral city in the UK by 2028.

Nottingham’s plan to improve air quality was the first to be approved by Government last year. This is due to:

  • Long-term investment in the city’s public transport system including doubling the size of the tram network via the Workplace Parking Levy
  • Upgrading buses to biogas and electric
  • Investing in cycling facilities to encourage active travel
  • Supporting more people to switch towards cleaner vehicles by installing nearly 400 charge points in the region and introducing the UK’s first Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) lane – a bus lane that also allows ULEVs
  • Cleaning up the council’s fleet of vehicles, reducing running costs and emissions
  • Cleaning up the city’s taxis – with the biggest fleet of ULEV cabs outside of London and all city hackney cabs due to be Euro 6 diesel or ULEV by summer 2020
  • Tackling ‘idling’ vehicles – especially outside schools – as children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of emissions.

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