A leading national lung health charity has praised B&NES Council’s implementation of Bath’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in a new study. The report praised the CAZ and the ‘rapid improvements in air quality’ it has brought.
In the report – Asthma + Lung UK – highlighted how, when compared with 2019 (pre-COVID 19 baseline), there has been a decrease in annual Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations of 21% within the zone and 22% in the area outside the zone.
The charity has previously described NO2 as ‘one of the most dangerous pollutants to human health’. It can cause inflammation of the airways and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections and to allergens. NO2 can also exacerbate the symptoms of those already suffering from lung or heart conditions.
The report went on to praise B&NES Council’s communication of plans on CAZs. Asthma + Lung UK said that polling showed 59% of residents supported the policy. These higher levels of support in Bath, the leading lung health charity said, were attributed to greater awareness of the health benefits of cleaner air, thanks to messaging from the local authority.
Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, commented:
“Air pollution is a killer – it kills 36,000 people a year. I am proud of my Liberal Democrat colleagues on B&NES Council for recognising this and treating it with the seriousness it deserves.
“Their work is rightly being recognised by Asthma + Lung UK, a leading voice on air pollution and public health. Healthier air benefits everyone and protects the vulnerable. It is quite right that we have made efforts to improve it and very encouraging that those efforts continue to be successful.”
Tim Dexter, Clean Air Policy Manager at Asthma + Lung UK, commented:
“The devastating health effects of air pollution should not be underestimated. Dirty air can stunt lung growth, trigger dangerous asthma attacks and cause deadly conditions like lung cancer. The government’s progress on tackling this invisible threat has been disappointingly slow, but local authorities also have a vital role to play. A number of cities have stepped up to the plate, including Bath, which recently introduced a Clean Air Zone. This measure has rapidly reduced road traffic emissions, which means the people of Bath are now breathing cleaner air. Now we need to see other cities follow in Bath’s footsteps.”
Manda Rigby, B&NES Council Cabinet Member for Transport, commented:
“When we introduced the Bath Clean Air Zone on 15 March 2021, it was the first of its kind outside London. As we approach two years of the scheme operating, we know that the measures are working to cut the toxic air pollution that damages everyone’s health but has the worst impact on the most vulnerable. As national leaders for action on air quality, we’re putting Bath on the map for clean air.”