Tackle air pollution and improve your health this Clean Air Day
Residents across Essex are being encouraged to consider simple actions they could take to help improve air quality and their health this Clean Air Day.
Clean Air Day is the UK's largest air pollution campaign and aims to highlight the issue of air pollution and improve public understanding of the problem.
Air pollution contributes to up to 36,000 deaths in the UK every year and the theme for this year’s campaign is health, with people being encouraged to think about steps they could take to make the air cleaner and improve their health.
Suggested actions include choosing active travel options such as walking or cycling shorter distance journeys rather than using the car – a message Essex County Council has been actively promoting through its own Safer, Greener, Healthier campaign. Active travel helps people get fit, which improves mental health and takes pressure off the NHS.
Cllr Lee Scott, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, said: “Although air quality in Essex is generally good, air pollution is having a harmful effect on the health of people living, visiting and working in parts of our county, often caused by vehicle emissions.
“As a council, we are working on a number of projects and initiatives to help tackle air pollution, reduce vehicle emissions and address the recommendations of the Essex Climate Action Commission, and making it easier and safer for people to travel more sustainably through our Safer, Greener, Healthier campaign.
“We can all do our bit to help and even the smallest steps can make a huge difference, so I would encourage everyone to take some time this Clean Air Day to consider the actions they can take.”
As part of its Safer, Greener, Healthier campaign to encourage people to rethink the way they travel, Essex County Council is progressing with various walking and cycling improvements across Essex, including proposed Active Travel Fund schemes in Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Colchester and Wickford, with works due to start this summer. The Department for Transport (DfT) is continuing to trial e-scooters in Basildon, Chelmsford and Colchester.
The county council is also working with schools, businesses, and communities to promote travel planning through its Smarter Travel for Essex Network, Bikeability cycle training and an Essex Cycle Grant scheme.
The county council is also working with district councils on a number of specific air quality-related projects and initiatives across the county, jointly funded by the council and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.