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Wednesday, 18th Nov 2020

Four years later - Bristol is still waiting for clean air

Four years after Bristol City Council unanimously voted to support a clean air zone for Bristol, Bristol’s Mayor has failed to deliver on his promise. Green Councillor Charlie Bolton, who brought the motion to Full Council in November 2016, called the lack of action “a shocking dereliction of responsibility towards the vulnerable in our city.”

Over 300 people a year have their lives shortened as a result of air pollution in Bristol, but the suffering is not felt equally across the city. Many of the poorest areas suffer the most, and in some areas 1 in 10 early deaths can be attributed to air pollution. Those people most affected are also disproportionately those who do not own cars themselves. [see notes]

Councillor Charlie Bolton said:

“I suppose I ought to be surprised that Bristol has taken 4 years not to implement a Clean Air zone, but little surprises me about the current administration any more.

“Some 1200 people have had their lives shortened since the original motion - a quite shocking dereliction of responsibility towards the vulnerable in our city.  

“And you should remember that the driver for the zones was to make the air legal, not to make it clean. I remember asking how many lives would be lost once our air becomes legally compliant – but of course, never got a reply.”

Councillor Jerome Thomas said:

“The story of Bristol’s toxic air over the last four years has been a tale of foot-dragging inaction. Things got so bad that even the government, hardly known for its forward thinking approach to clean air, threatened to take Bristol to court if it didn’t take action.

“Bristol’s Mayor has missed deadline after deadline to clean up our air and it is the poorest and most vulnerable who will pay the price – choking on the fumes from our city’s car addiction and inaction from those in power.

Recent steps to improve a few walking and cycling routes in our city centre are of course to be welcomed, but they will not clean up the air for all the communities across our city. The quickest and most efficient way to clean up our dangerous air is the clean air zone that was promised four years ago.”

Notes

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