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Medway Liberal Democrats are supporting 'Clean Air Day' on the 8th October

September 29, 2020 8:10 AM
By Medway Liberal Democrats - Alan Wells

clean air day 2020 logoThe World Health Organisation recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today. It causes heart and lung diseases, is linked to low birth weight and children's lung development and may even contribute to mental health issues. Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.  

Local Liberal Democrats are supporting 'Clean Air Day' which is the UK's largest air pollution campaign and we have campaigned vigorously on how pollution is affecting our towns. Chatham was named as one of the worst areas in the country for air quality, stating that one in 16 deaths in Chatham "are exclusively driven by combustion in commercial, institutional, and domestic activities linked to long-term exposure to particulates and linked to aggravating heart and lung conditions and causing cardiac arrhythmias, heart attacks, and respiratory effects such as asthma attacks and bronchitis." - Centre for Cities findings.

Liberal Democrats have been consistent in calling on the Council to play a leadership role by adopting policies which are in line with our local environment, and by investing in infrastructure that will improve the air quality and health of Medway residents. Given electric and low emissions vehicles are key in tackling air pollution, the Council has failed to increase the number of electric vehicle charging points around Medway. The Council should ensure that locations such as public car parks and supermarkets, new developments and large-scale regeneration schemes include electric car charging facilities.

Electric buses can play a major part in reducing air pollution, and the Council should fast track the procurement of pure electric buses to transform Medway's bus fleet. Promote its existing Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) by encouraging people to use public transport and provide incentives with cheaper fares, a greater frequency of services, more twilight bus services, quicker journey times and promoting eco-driving and car sharing.

Vivienne Parker, Chair of Medway Liberal Democrats said "I think the lack of action is appalling, especially when we learn more about the huge health impact of air pollution. The Council's response lacks urgency, considering it has already declared a climate change emergency, admitting that its previous targets were inadequate.

We have an air quality management area running right through the centre of Medway all along the A2 from Strood to Hoath Way, with extensions along Luton Road and between Cuxton Hill and Frindsbury, another running from the Lower Lines to Danes Hill and another running the length of Rainham High Street. This is a huge area of the centre of Medway where people are suffering poor air quality and the Council is clearly dragging its heels, just as the Government is anxious to reduce poor air quality post COVID by providing millions of pounds in grant funding.

Unless there is urgent action in reducing emissions, our town's air quality will worsen and the health of future generations will suffer. We are calling for a local development plan that will invest in our local health, people deserve better, and Liberal Democrats demand better. "

ENDS

Additional Notes for Editors: Clean Air Day 2020


Website: https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/

Clean Air Day normally takes place on the third Thursday in June. This year, due to COVID-19, Clean Air Day is taking place on 8 October 2020.

Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.  The World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today. Poor air quality causes heart and lung diseases, is linked to low birth weight and children's lung development and may even contribute to mental health issues.

Clean Air Day is the UK's largest air pollution campaign, engaging thousands of people at hundreds of events, and reaching millions more through the media. The campaign normally takes place on the third Thursday in June. However, due to COVID-19, this year Clean Air Day is taking place on 8 October 2020 and will be rolled out slightly differently. To keep you, your family, friends and colleagues safe, we've updated the campaign to be more virtual!

Find out more about the date change and why social distancing is no barrier to taking action on Clean Air Day here.

Led by Global Action Plan, Clean Air Day brings together communities, businesses, schools and the health sector to:

  • Improve public understanding of air pollution.

  • Build awareness of how air pollution affects our health.

  • Explain the easy actions we can all do to tackle air pollution, helping to protect the environment and our health.