Improving air quality in the city together
Clean Air Day, a national campaign co-ordinated by Global Action Plan, aims to raise awareness of the urgent need to improve air quality, reduce pollution and work together to protect the environment and promote the health and wellbeing of people.
Air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today, contributing to 36,000 premature deaths annually in the UK. It comes from many sources and we know that transport is one of the main sources of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) emissions both nationally and in Brighton & Hove. As a result the city has two designated Air Quality Management Areas which we are monitoring closely and report on annually.
What we are doing
We’re working on a number of initiatives which will help reduce emissions and improve air quality in the city. Health and wellbeing is a key objective of the council’s Local Transport Plan which has seen continued investment over many years in sustainable, active transport to help provide people with alternative travel options for some journeys, especially short ones.
In Brighton & Hove we are working on:
- improving air quality across council projects and services through our Air Quality Programme Board which includes public health
- a new local walking and cycling plan to identify the necessary infrastructure to make it easier for residents and visitors to switch to active travel for some of their journeys
- a plan to help reduce carbon emissions from transport which will ensure a greater focus on and continued investment in reduced and low emission transport
- installing 200 electric vehicle charging points this year to increase the number of clean vehicles in the city. The registration of electric vehicles in the city has risen in the last few years and developing the city’s infrastructure will enable us to provide additional charging points in residential areas
- low emissions technology through our Quality Bus Partnership. We’ve introduced an Ultra Low Emission Zone for buses to improve air quality by reducing levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in areas of the city where it has remained above legal limits. Through this partnership work, we have also supported bus companies make the switch to low or zero emission vehicles
- introducing electric taxi hubs. Following a successful bid for funding by the council, the government has granted the city £468,000 to support local taxi companies who want to introduce electric vehicles to their fleet by ensuring they have the infrastructure to operate.
We can’t deliver significant change by itself. Ensuring success in reducing emissions will only be achieved by working together as a council with our transport partners, stakeholders and local communities.
Councillor Anne Pissaridou, chair of the city’s environment, transport & sustainability committee, said: “Air quality is a serious public health issue and long-term exposure to air pollution has a lasting effect on health and life expectancy. As we know, road transport is the biggest source of emissions in Brighton & Hove and to tackle this we have put significant investment in sustainable and active travel initiatives.
“By investing in the right measures, we are making it easier for people to make decisions when they are travelling that will improve air quality. We are already one of the country’s least car-dependent cities outside London; more than a third of the city’s residents do not own a car and nearly twice as many people walk to work compared with the rest of the UK.
“Brighton & Hove also has one of the most efficient and well used bus networks outside of the capital, connecting local people from around the city and enabling quick, short travel.
“We want to and will do more, working across the council and with local transport operators, businesses, developers, residents and visitors to support and encourage the move towards zero emissions and improve air quality for all who live, work and visit the city.”
How you can help improve air quality
See our active travel infographics to learn more about the benefits of active travel, top tips, and where to find information and support.
There are lots of ways residents can work with us to improve the city’s air quality, including:
- give your car time off. Walk, cycle or take public transport to work or school, or work from home if you can
- don’t idle your engine. If you do have to drive, you can help by turning off your engine when your vehicle is stationary, and it is safe to do so
- go electric. This year we’re installing 200 electric vehicle charging points across the city, making it easier to recharge an electric car. Consider switching to electric today
- don’t park outside the school gates. If driving your child is the only option, why not park a little way from the school? You could also start to car-share which will save money on fuel, while also reducing emissions and congestion outside schools at peak times.