Calderdale Council is supporting the national campaign for Clean Air Day on Thursday 17 June 2021 and encouraging people to pledge to make a change to help support work to reduce air pollution in the borough.
Improving air quality is a priority for the Council and is a really important part of the work being done to tackle the climate emergency. Actions to improve air quality feature as part of the Council’s Air Quality Action Plan and are promoted through the Let’s Clear the Air campaign: www.calderdale.gov.uk/letscleartheair.
Over the past year, the Council has undertaken major work to improve air quality. As a borough, Calderdale aims to be carbon neutral by 2038 at the latest, with significant progress by 2030. It’s hoped this will be achieved even sooner with in-house emissions and significant progress has already been made to reduce the carbon footprint of the Council.
To help meet these ambitious targets and support improvements in air quality, the Council has introduced a number of initiatives, including the use of electric vehicles in the Council’s fleet, additional electric vehicle charging points in the borough, tree planting, LED street lights installation, energy efficiency improvements in Council buildings and insulation for low-income households.
The Council is also working in partnership with the Community Foundation for Calderdale to set up a ‘Climate Emergency Fund’ to help combat the impact that climate change is having on the borough. Over £1 million has been pledged and further investment is being sought. For more information, or to contribute to the fund and support local community action, visit https://localgiving.org/charity/cffc/(external link)
12 ‘School Streets’ around Calderdale are also helping to improve air quality. This is where the roads around schools are only open to pedestrians and other non-motorised vehicles at school drop-off and pick-up times during term-time. This helps to limit air pollution from vehicles; prevent idling; create healthier and more pleasant streets; and encourage people to be more active by walking and cycling, building on the many other projects to make it easier to walk and cycle around Calderdale.
Air quality monitoring continues in key locations, such as Air Quality Management Areas and near any incinerators or other developments that need to be carefully managed and monitored.
Improving air quality also requires individuals and organisations across the borough to take their own action. Starting the journey towards improved air quality could be as simple as making a pledge for Clean Air Day and there are lots of simple changes that can be made that will have a positive impact on air quality and help to protect the health of everyone in the borough.
Pledges could include going vehicle free on 17 June, avoiding ordering non-essential deliveries on this date or pledging to only buy local. Pledges can start with one day, but people are also asked to consider long-term changes to inspire real change.
During the week of Clean Air Day, Calderdale Libraries Service is running a free Zoom event as part of its ‘Something in the Air?’ project. On Tuesday 15 June, residents can hear from Professor Martie van Tongeren, of the University of Manchester and Deborah Harkins, Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, as they talk about air quality and health and discuss the current picture in Calderdale, along with how people can minimise the risks. They’ll also be answering questions from attendees. To register for the free event, visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/breathe-healthy-be-healthy-tickets-157820865457(external link)
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, Cllr Scott Patient, said:
“Air pollution issues affect all of us and we all have a part to play in improving air quality and protecting our own health and the health of those around us.
“Clean Air Day is an opportunity to think about your own actions and how small changes could make a big difference.
“Many of us have already altered our lifestyle or routine due to the impacts of COVID and we need to seize this opportunity to make a real lasting change. What can start as a pledge for Clean Air Day, could become a permanent change for the better and support a healthier future for everyone.”
To find out more about Clean Air Day, visit https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/(external link) There’s also the opportunity to use the Personal Air Pollution Calculator to work out your individual contribution to air pollution in the UK, and find out what you can do to reduce emissions and protect your health: https://calculator.cleanairhub.org.uk/quiz(external link)
Protecting the borough’s distinctive environment and making it more resilient is fundamental to the ambitions for the future of Calderdale as part of Vision2024