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Thursday, 21st Jun 2018

Clean air day marks need for urgent action

Following warnings on Sunday that people in South Bristol should avoid outdoor activities because air pollution levels had reached such heights, Green councillors are calling for urgent action to tackle Bristol’s dangerous air pollution. Today is Clean Air Day where across the country people are uniting to raise awareness of air pollution.

Green Councillor Charlie Bolton who is the Councillor for Southville where air pollution was particularly high over the weekend said:

“The time for platitudes and vague commitments around air pollution is over. We can no longer wait while people die from air pollution, we need action now. How can we stand by and watch while in some of the poorest areas of our city one in ten lives are shortened by air pollution?”

“The work to promote walking and cycling in this city seems to have stalled in the last couple of years. But 'active travel' alongside good public transport needs to be taken seriously if we are serious about addressing our air pollution crisis. We need to systematically increase investment to both get people cycling and keep them cycling. And we need to take measures to make walking an easier option - especially for those who are more vulnerable”

Greens successfully tabled a motion on air pollution back in November 2016, calling for a clean air zone in Bristol and a recent report to Cabinet showed that, in some areas of Bristol, over one in ten of early deaths can be attributed to air pollution.

Here in Bristol Luke Jerram’s latest sculpture of a giant diesel soot particle, has made the issue more visual in the lead up to Clean Air Day. Inhale depicts a diesel soot particle that is 3 million times larger than the real size.   

Green Councillor for Ashley, Jude English said:

“There is a real role for art in making this invisible killer visible for the people of Bristol. Luke Jerram’s sculpture reminds us of the invisible particles that we breathe in every day. It reminds us of the consequences our poor transport infrastructure, congestion and reliance on cars has on our city and on each other.”

“We know that we can do better as a city than the traffic jam packed streets we have at the moment. 72% of people in Bristol consider air pollution and traffic pollution to be a problem or serious problem in their neighbourhood, which is why we are calling on the Mayor to start putting words into action.”

“Yes there are difficult decisions to be made, especially around introducing a congestion or charging zone for dirty vehicles in some of the most polluted parts of the city and yes these decisions won’t be universally popular. But this is about vision and leadership, not about shying away from tackling health inequalities and the difficult decisions that will make our city a better place to live. We want a healthy city, with streets that are safe to walk, cycle and play.”

Notes

  1. The attached photos of cycling and enjoying Bristol’s streets are by Councillor Charlie Bolton
  2. In March the a report on the Council’s Clean Air Action Plan came to Cabinet: https://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/news/clean-air-action-plan-proposed-after-years-of-green-campaigning
  3. 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. Green work on this can be found here: https://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/search?keyword=air+pollution
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