At Bristol Council today, the Cabinet approved the development of a Clean Air Action Plan to tackle the illegal levels of air pollution in the city, which has been estimated to contribute to over 300 premature deaths per year. After years of campaigning against air pollution and passing a successful council motion in 2016 which laid the foundations for the administration’s current approach, Green Councillors welcomed the item at Cabinet and called on the administration to take effective action.
A supporting report submitted to cabinet outlines five separate options for a Clean Air Zone, including options for a charging zone on cars and other vehicles. These options will be examined in a feasibility study over the course of the year.
Green councillor Fi Hance, who led the Council’s clean air project during her time as a Green Cabinet Member, submitted a statement to cabinet in support of the clean air plan. She said:
“Far too many people in our most deprived communities are suffering the ill effects of our dirty air. As the report points out, in some areas, over 1 in 10 of early deaths can be attributed to air pollution, along with many more numbers suffering from poor health. Inner city residents have lower car ownership but suffer far more health impacts from the vehicles causing illegal and harmful air – we owe them some respite from toxic air for which they are not responsible.”
The report submitted to cabinet notes that 72% of people in Bristol consider air pollution and traffic pollution to be ‘a problem’ or ‘a serious problem’ in their neighbourhoods and lists the known health impacts of air pollution which include low birth weight of babies, impaired lung development in small children, and acute respiratory problems and increased risk of heart disease among adults and the elderly. Air quality monitoring points around Bristol routinely record levels of air pollution far above legal limits, particularly in city centre locations such as Rupert Street, Colston Avenue and Anchor Road.
Group leader Councillor Eleanor Combley said:
“It’s great to see that the Green motion, which gained cross party support in a Council meeting back in November 2016, has kept Bristol’s illegal air quality high on the Council’s agenda. As our Green Cabinet member, Fi Hance did a fantastic job chairing the Mayor’s Air Quality Working Group, developing ideas for how to tackle the issue, and I want to thank her for all the hard work that she put in to lead to these proposals. This is also a victory for the thousands of people who supported our #LetBristolBreathe campaign and signed the petition calling for action.
“As the research shows, hundreds of lives are needlessly being cut short from dangerous levels of air pollution in Bristol, and it’s those in deprived areas of the city who are worst affected. Looking ahead, I hope the Mayor will not shy away from bold and effective action to protect the lives and health of Bristolians.”
- It is a legal requirement for Bristol City Council to take action to bring air pollution levels below the legal limit as soon as possible, as noted in the cabinet report which notes that: “The City Council has been directed by Government to develop plans by 31st December 2018 to achieve compliance with the Limit Value and Objective in the shortest possible time.”
- According to the report, the main source of nitrogen dioxide pollution in Bristol “is road traffic; with diesel cars the largest source responsible for 40% of the emissions.”
- Green councillors have been pushing for action on clean air from the Council since as far back as 1989. In 2016 they passed a successful council motion which laid the foundations for the administration’s current work on air quality.
- Full text of statement by Cllr Hance is below:
Statement to Cabinet - Agenda Item 8 - Improving Public Health - A Clean Air Plan for Bristol - Cllr Fi Hance
On behalf of the Green group of councillors, I'd like to welcome this report which acknowledges the severity of the problem of air pollution in Bristol and the significant concern that the issue is for a many of the city's residents. Greens in Bristol have been calling for action on this since as far back as the late 80s so it is very exciting to see plans reaching this late stage.
From my time working on this in Cabinet I’m very much aware that this report reflects an enormous amount of hard work by many officers, particularly Alex Minshull and Kathy Derrick who have put in many hours, dealing with a situation in which the goalposts have not so much moved as galloped across the pitch on a number of occasions. We are fortunate to have such dedicated staff.
We should not forget, however, that whilst the options outlined here are significant, and will require a considerable amount of political courage to implement, they are only part of the picture. Shifting a culture of car dependency and entitlement is not easy and we must continue to lobby government for adequate resourcing to promote active travel, improved public transport and a Clean Air Act. Residents will also expect the council to be seeking strategic support from WECA to ensure more substantial and sustained investment in walking and cycling to create viable, attractive alternatives.’
Far too many people in our most deprived communities are suffering the ill effects of our dirty air. As the report points out, in some areas, over 1 in 10 of early deaths can be attributed to air pollution, along with many more numbers suffering from poor health. Inner city residents have lower car ownership but suffer far more health impacts from the vehicles causing illegal and harmful air – we owe them some respite from toxic air for which they are not responsible. We can't allow this completely avoidable health inequality to continue, and I look forward to some bold, evidence based action from this administration to ensure that it doesn't.
The options proposed in the Cabinet report include:
• a non-charging Clean Air Zone with 17 complementary non-charging interventions
• a charging Clean Air Zone (medium size, class C: all vehicles except cars) with 12 complementary non-charging interventions
• a charging Clean Air Zone (medium size, class D: all vehicles) with 12 complementary non-charging interventions
• a charging Clean Air Zone (small size, class C: all vehicles except cars) with 12 complementary non-charging interventions
• a charging Clean Air Zone (small size, class D: all vehicles) with 12 complementary non-charging interventions
The government has directed the Mayor to identify a preferred option by the end of 2018.
'Pie in the sky' - Green Group responds to release of Mayor's 'value for money' arena reports
"What was first touted as a simple ‘value for money’ review is beginning to look like a very expensive piece of political justification for a decision it seems the Mayor has already taken in private..."
Bristol Greens urge local MPs to back important vote on staying in the Single Market
Bristol Green Councillors have today jointly written to the four Bristol MPs urging them to “support the Lords’ amendment to find an EEA-style solution to the Brexit problem”
Brexit update from Bristol's Green MEP
Brexit update from Bristol's Green MEP Molly Scott Cato
Green Lord Mayor Cleo Lake's acceptance speech
Full text of the acceptance speech by Bristol's new Lord Mayor
Bedminster Green survey - locals reject tall buildings
Southville Green councillors Charlie Bolton and Steve Clarke have conducted a survey of local residents to explore their views on the proposals by a set of developers to construct over 1200 new homes in the Bedminster Green area.
Cleo Lake becomes Lord Mayor
Green Councillor Cleo Lake took up her role as Lord Mayor of Bristol to applause from a packed puiblic chamber where friends, family and members of the local communty had come to see her take up the position of first citizen of Bristol this week.
Watch: Bristol's MEP makes the case for a 'People's Vote' on Brexit
Molly talks to BBC Sunday Politics South West about the importance of a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, especially for students and young people who were unable to vote in the EU referendum.
Job: Junior Constituency Assistant – Bristol Office of Molly Scott Cato MEP
Molly is looking for a part time (21 hours per week) Junior Constituency Assistant for her constituency office in Bristol. The role will start in approximately July 2018 and will initially be for a fixed term period of 3 months.
Bristol's MEP condemns ‘Not me Gove’ ‘strategy’ for air pollution
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato has accused Environment Secretary Michael Gove of pointing the finger of blame for the UK’s illegal air quality in every direction but at the government and the chief causes of the problem.
Greens call for Bristol West MP to push for continued single market membership
Molly Scott Cato, Bristol's Green MEP, has called on Bristol West MP, Thangam Debbonaire, to use the ‘ray of hope’ offered by the Lords yesterday and vote to keep the UK inside the single market.
Why did the Council drop Bristol Energy?
Did Leave.EU take data from Bristol companies?
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has today written to Avon and Somerset Police to ask if the force is investigating new evidence that Bristol companies GoSkippy and Eldon Insurance allegedly shared data illegally with Leave.EU.
Green councillors stand with Friends of Redland Library against closure
At a meeting of Friends of Redland Library last week, Green councillors Carla Denyer and Clive Stevens were amongst the speakers updating residents about the progress of the campaign to save Bristol’s libraries.
Brexit update from Bristol's Green MEP
An update from Molly Scott Cato, Bristol's Green MEP and the national EU spokesperson
Keeping Bristol’s parks ad-free
At a council meeting on March 20 Bristol Council debated a petition to ‘Keep our parks advertising free’, in response to the Labour administration’s proposals to introduce commercial advertising to Bristol's parks and green spaces. Green Cllr Steve Clarke spoke in response.
Bristol Uni announces it will become fossil free
The University of Bristol, after extensive talks, announced today that it will withdraw all £700,000 of its investment from the fossil fuel industry. Moving from partial to full divestment is a big step forward for the university, with plans being put in place to ditch all fossil fuel companies from its investment portfolio over the next couple of years.
Council votes for Temple Meads arena location after Green motion
Over five thousand people have now signed a petition calling for the Mayor to support a Bristol arena at Temple Meads. Green councillors brought the matter to a vote with a motion to Full Council.
It’s time for a drug consumption room in Bristol
Green Councillor Cleo Lake is calling for Bristol to launch a drug consumption room to give drug users a safer space with access to needles and specialist support.
Bristol's Three Pro-EU MEPs release joint statement on Russian poison attack
“In a difficult week for pro-EU MEPs, when we debated the next stage of the leaving process, it was heartening to feel the warmth and generosity of our European colleagues in solidarity with the UK in the face of Russian aggression."
Greens bring vote on Arena location to Council meeting
Green Councillors have secured a Council debate and vote on the location of Bristol’s arena at next Tuesday’s Council meeting.
Bristol’s next Lord Mayor announced as Green Councillor Cleo Lake
Green Councillors have announced their candidate for Lord Mayor as Cotham Councillor, Cleo Lake
Clean Air Action Plan proposed after years of Green campaigning
At Bristol Council today, the Cabinet approved the development of a Clean Air Action Plan to tackle the illegal levels of air pollution in the city, which has been estimated to contribute to over 300 premature deaths per year.
High Court refuses MEP's Brexit case
High Court refuses to force government’s hand over Brexit impact studies
Bristol's MEP is today in High Court over Brexit court action
The High Court will this morning hear an oral application for permission to apply for judicial review to compel the production, in public, of the studies the government continues to withhold on the economic impacts of Brexit.
Green Group leader lobbies Treasury for end to local government cuts
Green Group leader Eleanor Combley today travelled to London to hand in a letter to the Treasury calling for an end to cuts to local government funding.
Greens refuse to vote for Labour’s cuts budget
At today’s budget Full Council meeting in Bristol City Hall, the city’s Green Councillors have refused to vote for the Labour Mayor’s austerity budget that proposed cuts of £34 million across Bristol, including library and public toilet closures and a large funding cut to Adult Social Care.
Raft of Green amendments passes at Budget Full Council
Bristol’s Green Councillors are celebrating today as all but one of their budget amendments at today’s Budget Full Council were passed.
Plot to ditch EU food standards threatens South West producers
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has warned of a plot by leading rightwing Brexiteers to ditch EU food and safety standards that would allow the import of US meats, drugs and chemicals currently banned in Britain.
New report on ‘Britain’s broken housing market’ & lessons from other EU Countries
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has launched a report she commissioned on the UK’s housing crisis.
Opinion: Blue sky thinking not allowed – frustrations of Bristol City Council’s budget
Green councillor for Clifton Down Carla Denyer writes for Bristol 24/7 on the restrictions surrounding the budget process at the council, which she says "makes long-term thinking impossible."