Let’s breathe

A hard-hitting campaign – spelling out the impact of air pollution in Bath on people’s health and encouraging fewer car journeys – is being launched across the city.

From September 9th,  images and messages – asking people to take action and help cut pollution caused by vehicle emissions – will appear on the latest environmentally-friendly buses and poster sites as part of a Bath & North East Somerset Council campaign.

Posters for press9

In Bath and North East Somerset more than 12,000 people suffer from asthma, a condition made worse by high levels of air pollution, and last year alone there were 28 emergency hospital admissions in under 19-year-olds due to asthma attacks.

Diesel and older petrol vehicles are the biggest contributors to NO2 pollution in Bath and high levels have been found to make existing heart and lung conditions worse.

Research also links exhaust emissions to the increased possibility of heart attack, dementia and reduced lung development in children.

Councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for neighbourhood and development, said: “You often can’t see it or smell it but there are areas of Bath and North East Somerset that suffer from unacceptable levels of air pollution caused by exhaust emissions. We want to bring clean air to Bath for the sake of our own and future generations’ health. The aim of the campaign is to make us all aware that we can help cut pollution by changing our travel habits. Lots of people making small changes can have a positive impact on air quality.”

People can cut their NO2 contribution by:

  • Reducing the number of trips they make when other alternatives are available
  • Turning their engine off while waiting
  • Consider a lower-emission vehicle
  • Using public transport, walking and cycling
  • Using the park & ride

Bath & North East Somerset Council is currently encouraging more sustainable transport and travel, monitoring roadside emissions, declaring air quality management areas in Temple Cloud and Farrington Gurney and planning a Clean Air Charging Zone (CAZ) for central Bath which has some of the highest levels of NO2 pollution in the area.

A Clean Air Charging Zone means drivers of certain vehicles will have to pay a daily fee to drive in central Bath. This is necessary in order to see a reduction in pollution levels in the city by 2021 at the latest with the knock-on effect of improved air quality across the wider area.  A decision about the CAZ will be made in December.

Councillor Mark Shelford, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “It is everyone’s responsibility to take action and we are asking people to think twice about jumping in their car when they could walk, scoot or cycle. We’re asking people to use public transport and also to seriously consider going low emission when they buy their next car, van or lorry. This is not just a local problem, air pollution is hitting the national headlines most days now and we all have a responsibility to take action.”

For more information about helping reduce NOgo to www.bathnes.gov.uk/CleanAir4Bath  or join the conversation using #CleanAir4Bath. The website has tips and support on sustainable ways to get around and how to help your own health and reduce exposure to air pollution.

  • The Government is committed to tackling all sources of air pollution, as set out in its draft Clean Air Strategy 2018. It has issued a directive to B&NES Council to reduce levels of NO2 to within legal limits by 2021 by the latest. The only way to do this is a Clean Air Charging Zone. We are one of 28 Councils to be given this directive.
  •   Air pollution is the largest environmental risk to the public’s health. It is in the top five to seven causes of death in polluted areas, ahead of many other preventable causes like road deaths, excess winter deaths or communicable diseases. (Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) indicator 3.01)
  • Air pollution damages lives and increases the risk of death especially in the most vulnerable
  • The UK has a statutory obligation to keep concentrations of certain pollutants below certain levels.
  • The UK has national emission reduction commitments for the five most damaging air pollutants: Fine Particulate Matter (PM), Ammonia (NH3), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs)
  • The only area where the UK is currently not meeting those limits is Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). The main sources of NO2 is road transport.
  • The World Health Organisation has concluded that long-term exposure to air pollution reduces life expectancy by increasing premature deaths from lung & heart disease.
  • Conditions caused or exacerbated by air pollution (including NO2 and PM) include asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic heart disease (CHD)
  • In the womb, maternal exposure to air pollution can result in low birth weight, premature birth, still birth or organ damage.
  • In children, air pollution can result in reduced lung development
  • In adulthood, air pollution is associated with diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, lung cancer and stroke
  • There is emerging evidence that air pollution and an acceleration of the decline in cognitive function
  • Each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to outdoor air pollution
  • Poorer people and disadvantaged groups are more at risk
  • Overall, the estimated cost of air pollution to individuals and society is more than £20 billion annually for the UK

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