January 2023 saw the arrival of traffic tolls to clean up air in the centre of Newcastle and further rollout of measures to improve air safety near schools, for pupils and adults.
Climate Action Newcastle welcomes this progress, but much more is still needed – so in 2023 we launched our Cleaner Air campaign. Our supporters and partners got involved to achieve – and breathe! – cleaner air during 2023.
Since the launch, we've shared a wealth of ways that all of us can play our part in improving the air that we breathe!
The 30 WAYS to Cleaner Air Guide gives you a wide selections of options to play your part. We all lead different lives, and all make our contributions in different ways. You could pick one of these and try out for 30 days - or try a different one every day!
We invited all supporters of clean air to take action to mark UK Clean Air Day on 15 June!
The Guide can be downloaded here.
Below is a round-up of news to date, and info that we’ll be sharing in the coming months as the campaign continues to roll out.
Celebratory Welcome Walk for Newcastle’s new Clean Air Zone - 28 January
Thanks to all who took part! – report and Picture Gallery here
Share support for cleaner air – send us messages of support (see a sample below) and contact your own social media, local press to spread the word
We’re delighted the Walk was supported by a Ride for their Lives Bike Ride – cyclists who highlight the health dangers of poor air quality. Share their powerful stories here.
Thanks for your support for “Ella’s law” – the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill – link to the background and the Ella Roberta Foundation here.
Sign the petition here.
Tell people about 9-year-old Ella, whose tragic death raised the profile of the invisible dangers of air pollution
Help explain why local people here are at risk – almost 40,000 UK citizens die due to dangerous air pollution every year. Many others suffer reduced quality of life for many years.
Many congratulations to Ella’s mother Rosamund, whose campaigning led to her being included in this year’s New Year Honours list for services to public health.
Spring's arrival helped us all reduce Newcastle’s vehicle emissions. The Clean Air Zone imposes no tolls on private car drivers, so reducing emissions through fewer car trips is down to all of us. We urged everyone to step back to check other "hidden" vehicle emissions from our decisions, such as deliveries of our homes or workplaces.
· Active travel is good for fitness, reduces carbon emissions and saves money! As the weather improves, opportunities to get active and cut the mileage include "WALK & WHEEL" - consider cycling, e-bikes, e-scooters, rollerblading or simply pulling on your trainers and aiming for 10,000 steps a day. Check out safe routes away from roads with Sustrans,
· Home deliveries – can your supplier change transport options, such as using bikes or e-bikes? Could you walk or use public transport to a collection point? Does your supplier offer "eco-delivery slots?" - if not, tell them you will switch to other suppliers who do. And do take into account the carbon emission of ordering goods then returning them.
· Spreading the word also makes a huge difference – to workplaces, volunteer groups, personal contacts. If a taxi is used – why not request an electric car? Phoenix Transport is a local firm that's showing the way - if you use a different firm, why not ask them to follow this green example.
MAY: Cleaner Air around Newcastle Schools. Support Walk to School Week between 16 and 20 May, with Living Streets support.
JUNE: Celebrate public transport – past, present and future.
JULY: Even BIGGER Welcome to Cleaner Air! Newcastle’s CAZ increases its impact in July, with the expansion of Newcastle’s Clean Air Zone. Vans are added to the vehicles subject to tolls – all helping our air to get even cleaner. Lots more info on the zone here.
#WeLoveCleanerAir! - MESSAGES OF SUPPORT
Anil Namdeo, Professor of Air Quality Management, Northumbria University
“There is already enough evidence to link exposure to air pollution with adverse health effects. Air pollution has been linked with asthma, coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, COPD, diabetes and dementia. Its effects are worse for vulnerable people including children, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Any improvement in air quality in an area will bring about significant public health benefits to the sensitive populations. Thus, the Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone will play a vital role in improving the health of citizens.”
Cllr Jane Byrne, cabinet member for a connected, clean city, Newcastle City Council: “We need to tackle air pollution for the sake of everyone’s health and the Clean Air Zone, which launches on Monday 30 January, is part of the solution. According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats to human health, alongside climate change.
In Newcastle, we’re taking steps, through the Clean Air Zone and initiatives such as School Streets and low traffic neighbourhoods, to try to reduce the harmful vehicle emissions that are a significant part of the problem.
In addition to improving our air quality, this will also help to reduce our impact on the wider environment and climate. It is wonderful to see people showing their support for this action through the Welcome Walk and Bike Ride.”
Dr Paul Steadman, Sustainability Manager, Northumbria University
“Northumbria University is happy to be the starting location for those who plan to embark on symbolic walking and cycling trips on 28th January to commemorate the launch of the Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone. At Northumbria we are committed to sustainability and proactively aim to minimise the impact our activities have on the environment. Our research is supporting the response to some of the biggest challenges facing the world today, including the fight against climate change.”
Ride For Their Lives organiser Heather Lambert, retired Newcastle paediatrician.
"Rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases are rising. Over 30,000 people die prematurely each year in the UK because of poor air quality. Local people, especially children, deserve the right to breathe clean air. “We know the solutions to climate change include reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and that bicycles, along with walking and other forms of active travel, are part of the solution. That is why I and other Newcastle doctors, health workers and supporters are celebrating the introduction of a Clean Air Zone.”