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Let’s all care about cleaner air

Wirral’s Clean Air campaign is calling on residents and businesses to pledge their support and #Bethekey in tackling air pollution, by making small changes to make the air healthier for everyone.

Launched on Clean Air Day (20 June), the campaign is working alongside schools, taxi drivers and community groups to spread the word about how we can all make a difference to air quality in Wirral.

There are so many things we can do to help. If it works for you, why not ditch the car and walk or cycle to school? If you do need to drive, you could consider car sharing for the commute to and from work; or turning off the engine when parked up, loading or waiting at the roadside to reduce damaging emissions and save money.

Restarting your car does not burn more fuel than leaving it idling. In fact, idling for just 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting the engine. Road Traffic Vehicle Emissions Regulations can see drivers fined for not switching off their engine if they refuse to do so when asked by an officer – so please, help to save money and the environment by switching off when you can!

Councillor Elizabeth Grey, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said:

“With Wirral a key player in Liverpool City Region’s Year of Environment during 2019, the Clean Air campaign is paramount to helping us lead the way in making changes to our environment for the better.”

“There are already some great projects taking place locally, with children and schools being some of our biggest Clean Air Champions. But we all need to play our part in reducing air pollution by making changes to how we travel.

“If you’re from a school, business, or community group, we’d love to hear from you, so please get in touch to work together on this urgent issue.”

So far, the Clean Air campaign has teamed up with Portland Primary and Brackenwood Infant School, providing materials and toolkits to help them support the campaign – including a handbook of tips for reducing traffic around the schools.

Portland Primary is one of Wirral’s eco schools and was the first in the borough to ban plastic straws/milk cartons. The school has also planted hedgerows in a bid to tackle poor air quality.

Air pollution in the UK

Air pollution is the top environmental risk to human health in the UK and the fourth greatest threat to public health after cancer, heart disease and obesity. It worsens illnesses such as asthma and is also associated with dementia, low birth weight, and diabetes. It is estimated that 28,000 to 36,000 deaths each year are attributed to human-made air pollution in the UK.  

Young children are particularly at risk from lifelong health effects like asthma as a result of exposure to air pollution.

Sources of outdoor air pollution include transport and the fuels used for transport, particularly road vehicles but also trains, shipping and aircraft. Wirral Council monitors air pollution across the borough as part of its commitment to clean air and has not, to date, identified any illegal air pollution levels. However, the council is committed to taking action to reduce residents’ exposure to air pollution, for healthier lives across Wirral.

Everyone has a role to play in the commitment to cleaner air for all. #Bethekey and help to make the change today.

Useful links:

Wirral’s Clean Air campaign – tips on how you can help

More on Wirral Council’s environmental commitment