The Leader's blog


Andrew Western

The blog of the Leader of Trafford Council, Councillor Andrew Western.

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Air pollution - what we can all do

Posted: Tuesday 11th September 2018
Blog: 2018

Many of you will have noticed the subject of air pollution cropping up in the media with increasing regularity, especially in the last few months.  As a Local Authority we have a shared responsibility with the government to tackle this growing public health crisis which is shortening lives, damaging our children’s lungs and severely impacting on the NHS.

Historically, the main air pollution problem has been linked to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal. These days, however, the major threat to clean air is now posed by traffic emissions. Each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are estimated by the Royal College of Physicians to be attributable to air pollution with an estimated total cost of £435 million a week, which could pay for a fifth of the NHS in England over a year. I don’t know about you, but I find these statistics shocking. We all need to be thinking about what we can do as individuals to help contribute to improving air quality both in Greater Manchester and on our own doorsteps in Trafford.

We will be talking to you about this more in coming months and giving you a detailed picture of air pollution in Trafford. We’ll also be sharing our thoughts as to how we can tackle this problem as a region and Local Authority, as well as asking for your involvement and feedback, but in the meantime here are three things that we can do as individuals which will make a difference:

  • Switch off your engine – whenever you are going to be parked for a while or when stuck in stationary traffic (especially when outside schools). This will also help you use less fuel and save money.
  • Don’t drive unless you have to – walking, cycling and public transport are the cleanest ways to travel, but nearly 70% of all journeys by car are short ones. Walk or cycle whenever you can and improve your physical health directly as well as improving the air that we all breathe.
  • Choose the right car to reduce emissions – where possible, make an environmentally friendly choice. Diesel cars produce more toxic emissions than petrol, older models produce more toxic emissions than newer models, and hybrid and electric vehicles provide even greener alternatives. Do what you can to make a good choice, budget allowing.

We will be doing what we can as a Council to raise awareness and help keep people informed of this issue, as well as coming up with a plan of tangible actions, but in the meantime I would ask everyone in Trafford to please keep yourselves up-to-speed with this issue and talk to your friends and family about it. The only way we can successfully tackle it is by everyone coming together and taking action.