Updated: 9 hours ago
New Year, new progress – for our personal health and the planet!
This January sees new 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 are launching our Cleaner Air campaign. We can all get involved to achieve – and breathe! – cleaner air during 2023. And we’ll welcome your questions and your suggestions for more initiatives!
Our members took action into their own hands last year - we tried out new approaches and found out about positive progress achieved by climate-concerned people, groups and organisations. Below is a round-up of the results and info that we’ll be sharing in the coming months as the campaign rolls 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.
Newcastle’s Clean Air Zone goes live on Mon 30 Jan. Lots more info on the CAZ here.
Support “Ella’s law” – the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill – link to the background and the Ella Roberta Foundation here.
· Write to our MPs and explain why action is overdue
· 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.
MARCH: 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. And this month, step back to check other 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, we’ll share the latest info on Newcastle opportunities to get active and cut the mileage.
· Home deliveries – can they change transport options, such as using bikes or e-bikes? Could you walk or use public transport to a collection point?
· 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?
APRIL: No Idling, Children Breathing. We launch our Action Sheet on ways we can all tackle the scourge of engine idling. It’s dangerous, it wastes money – and it’s illegal!
MAY: Cleaner Air around Newcastle Schools. We focus on protecting school children from dangerous air pollution, with info to support parents, pupils, educators and local residents
JUNE: Celebrate public transport – past, present and future.
JULY: Even BIGGER Welcome to Cleaner Air! Marking 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.
#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.”