Six month since our Cleaner Air for Newcastle campaign launch, we're celebrating progress.
Here's the headlines, and below are details and links:
there's early evidence that Newcastle’s Clean Air Zone is reducing pollution and making air healthier for local residents
the CAZ scheme has entered a second stage, requiring more vehicles to meet safer emission standards.
our 30 WAYS guide, developed by CAN supporters, has been used by hundreds of local people to see how they can help improve local air quality
we're highlighting an artwork that captures the value of monitoring data,
HERE'S THE DETAILS + LINKS
SCIENCE: A leading air quality scientist has confirmed that the first five months of the new zone have seen a “significant” improvement in air quality. Professor Anil Namdeo, Northumbria University, said: “The analysis needs to be repeated for a longer duration, but these initial results indicate that measures like CAZ are steps in the right direction to tackle a complex environmental problem like air pollution.”
He added: “Our initial analysis of the air quality data from urban background monitoring station at Newcastle Civic Centre has shown that air quality (NO2 concentrations) has improved significantly over the Feb-June period in 2023 when compared to the similar period in 2022. Real progress is possible with the right commitment from local and national governments.”
ART: Local artist Cameron Lings created Repercussions to illustrate peaks and troughs of pollution near the Tyne Bridge in the past 12 months. The acrylic, aluminium and concrete work is installed on the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art’s Level 4 Viewing Terrace, close to the kittiwake nesting area.
CAZ UPDATE: Newcastle Gateshead Clean Air Zone introduced standards for older vans and light goods vehicles on Monday 17 July. Some will be liable for daily charges in the city centre. Grants of up to £4,500 are available for drivers who wish to switch to a safer vehicle, and about 600 have applied.
CLIMATE ACTION NEWCASTLE COMMENT: CAN convener Jacky Doran said: “Because we can’t SEE the high levels of pollution that cause deaths and a wide range of harms to health, monitoring data has been vital to show us all why change was needed. We were delighted to find that a local artist made this connection and was inspired to create his work. Positioning it close to the world’s most inland kittiwake colony is a brilliant way to show how wildlife, as well as local people, are benefitting from these improvements.”
RIDE FOR THEIR LIVES CAMPAIGN COMMENT: Dr Heather Lambert, a recently retired Newcastle paediatrician said: "The toxic air we breathe is a health emergency. Air pollution is linked not just to increased rates of lung diseases like asthma and excess deaths in the population, but also affects children before they are even born with increased rates of stillbirth and premature /low birthweight delivery. We have to make changes to improve air quality and there is evidence from other urban areas that clean air zones are an effective part of the solution." See why Tyneside medical campaigners support change here.
CAN CLEANER AIR CAMPAIGN COMMENT: organiser Olwyn Hocking said: “Monitoring data from other parts of the country where clean air changes came in earlier has shown that air pollution has reduced. Local high levels of air pollution put us all at risk – it’s the biggest environmental risk each of us faces every day. Just as we all welcome drivers looking after the safety of their cars by having annual MOTs, we also welcome the changes people are making so their car emissions safer as well.” Campaign 2023 overview here.
Climate Action Newcastle "30 WAYS Guide": ways we can all improve Newcastle’s air quality. Launched on UK Clean Air Day, it lists 30 ways we can make a difference. Online users can download the “30 WAYS to Cleaner Air” and Idling Guides here. People can also collect paper versions from campaign events and by getting in touch.
Clean Air Walk and Ride for Their Lives in January welcome Newcastle’s Clean Air Zone – links and pictures here:
Evidence from monitoring of low traffic zones: Oxford data here.
Professor Anil Namdeo biog: Professor of Air Quality Management, Northumbria University’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences. Chartered Environmentalist and Chartered Scientist, Professor Namdeo is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society (FRMetS) and a Fellow of the Institute of Air Quality Management, having worked extensively in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) SPF Clean Air Champions Team appointed him Regional Clean Air Champion (RCAC) for the area covering East Midlands to North East of England. The position is one of only five across the UK.
Newcastle City Council website links:
Full details about vehicle upgrade grants can be found at www.breathe-cleanair.com/grants. Only vehicles that do not meet national emissions standards will be affected by CAZ charges. This means vans and LGVs must have a Euro 6 diesel (registered after September 2016) or a Euro 4 petrol engine (registered after January 2006). People can check whether their vehicle is compliant at www.gov.uk/clean-air-zones. The daily CAZ charge for non-compliant vans is £12.50 and details on how to pay can be found at www.breathe-cleanair.com/how-to-pay.