The air that we breathe

Here’s a date for your diary!

Next Thursday, June 17th is National Clean Air Day and Bath & North East Somerset Council is urging everyone to give their car a day off and pledge to walk or cycle to their destination instead.   

The Big Walk and Cycle event being held by B&NES is part of the celebrations and aims to raise awareness of air pollution caused by vehicle emissions, particularly the high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in central Bath.

This year’s national campaign focuses on the impact of air pollution on children’s health. Exposure to poor air quality can stunt lung development and limit life expectancy for some children. It also causes heart and lung diseases, is linked to low birth weight, and may even contribute to mental health issues and children’s ability to learn. 

Cllr Sarah Warren – cabinet member for Climate and Sustainable Travel.

Councillor Sarah Warren, Deputy Leader, Climate and Sustainable Travel said: “This Clean Air Day, we’re urging families and individuals to give walking, cycling and public transport a go as their own contribution to improving pollution, and we hope it becomes a habit.

This is particularly important as we strive to meet our clean air targets. Currently there are still areas in the city that exceed the legal limits for NO2 pollution, which the city’s Clean Air Zone is tackling with charges deterring higher emission commercial vehicles.

National Clean Air Day is a time to reflect and consider the things we can do to make a difference to the air we breathe. Household burning, such as the use of wood stoves and open fires, is the biggest contributor to particulate matter pollution, so please only use seasoned wood and avoid burning toxic household waste.”

The council has also joined forces with the Schools Climate Network and Families Acting on Climate Emergency (FACE) to run a Clean Air Day poster competition in local schools and support to deliver a Clean Air Day assembly to help children understand the impact of poor air quality and what everyone can do to help.

Becky Reynolds, Director of Public Health, said: “It can be hard to fit in exercise around work and family commitments, but walking, running or cycling helps us to maintain good mental health as well as physical fitness. Perhaps the Big Walk and Cycle event could inspire you to consider alternatives to commuting by car or driving on short trips where possible. It’s important that we keep active for the sake of our own health, our children’s health and the health of our environment.

“As our children return to more normal lives after the pandemic, we must help ensure they have a healthy environment in which they can learn and play safely.”

How to take part in the Big Walk and Cycle to Work or School event:

  • Download a pledge card using this link, or go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/cleanair4bathnes
  • Take a photo of your pledge to take part, e.g. ‘I pledge to cycle to work today!’
  • Share your pledge on social media in the run up to Clean Air Day, using hashtags #CleanAirDay and #BathActiveTravel  
  • On 17 June, remember to walk or cycle to work or school, and share your stories on social media
  • If you can’t walk or cycle, take the bus or train instead of your car or share your car journey into the city  
  • Get together with friends or colleagues to really make an impact