We all have the right to clean air, yet millions of people across the UK are breathing toxic air on a daily basis. A recent report found that outdoor air pollution is linked to 40,000 deaths in the UK each year, and health experts warn that there is no safe level for pollutants. Toxic air affects every one of us, from the time that we are in the womb and through to old age, though some are more vulnerable, including those on the lowest incomes.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, reflects on the work the authority is doing to tackle a national public health crisis on a local level
Turn on the tap at home or in your workplace and you can be sure that what comes out will be safe to drink. We take clean drinking water for granted – though so many others around the world can’t -because we view it as a basic human right rather than a privilege.
Solar PV funding from Salix Finance
Salix Finance is a non-profit, government-funded organisation which provides interest-free funding to the public sector to improve their energy efficiency. Salix funds over 100 energy efficient and low carbon technologies in the form of a loan, paid back through energy savings.
UK100 has convened a Clean Air Summit to showcase leadership on Clean Air Day.
Local power drives change – why councils hold the keys to the electric car revolution
Illegal and toxic air pollution is hurting people’s health, damaging their quality of life, and cutting lives short, and as a result it’s rocketing up the political agenda. As a medieval city with 21st century transport problems, Oxford has a problem with traffic-related air pollution that’s leading my council to take radical steps. Our determination to protect the health of our neighbourhoods can never succeed unless we truly clean up transport. Together with other councils, Oxford is campaigning for new money and powers from Government but also refusing to wait indefinitely for national change. Oxford’s ambition is simple—to introduce the world’s first Zero Emission Zone into our city centre.
All around us people are making smarter, cleaner decisions about how they use and generate energy. From installing electric vehicle charging points to solar arrays on the top of shopping centres, our country is gradually weaning itself of fossil fuels.
A new charter for cleaner air is to be launched by Oxford City Council, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth, calling on the Government to place the health of communities first.
It has been a long hot summer so far, with record temperatures, devastating wildfires in Portugal, Greece and the United States, and life-threatening flash floods in southern France. Scientists have long warned that global warming will bring with it extreme weather events, and inevitably questions are being asked as to whether this summer is the new norm. I suspect we’ve still got some chilly, wet English summers to come, but I have no doubt that the climate is changing in significant and dangerous ways. As the Cabinet member for Improving Camden’s Environment at Camden Council I want us to be at the forefront of local action to tackle the issue.
In 2010, we became one of the first local authorities nationally to commit to a 40% boroughwide carbon reduction by 2020. With a population of over 220,000 and a significant commercial and institutional sector generating around 65% of Camden’s carbon emissions, we knew from the start that we could not bring down borough emissions on our own. So we established a supportive policy and programme framework that would enable businesses and residents to play their part in reducing the emissions driving climate change.