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Take a deep breath, and give us your views on air quality in Cornwall

From today until Wednesday, 15 April, the Council is carrying out an online survey where you can let us know whether you think the measures being taken on air quality in Cornwall are suitable and effective, and you can also make your own suggestions.

With its maritime climate, Cornwall prides itself on having clean, invigorating air. Whilst that is generally true, Cornwall Council has a statutory duty to monitor air quality and has set up Air Quality Management Areas in nine parts of Cornwall.

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Air quality actions positively contribute to Cornwall’s aim to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. These actions include encouraging the use of ultra-low emission vehicles or using public transport as an alternative, energy efficiency improvements to existing homes, and revised planning policies to encourage sustainable development and the switch to renewable energy generation.

Road traffic is the principle source of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in Cornwall and across the UK. Approximately 4.3 million tourists visit Cornwall each year, the majority travelling by car. In peak tourist season traffic flows rise by around 25 percent.

But Cornwall is already well ahead of other areas in offering charging points for electric vehicles - 115 electric vehicle charge points are in place and Cornwall Council is working with partners to install at least another 66 over next 3 years.

As part of the council’s commitment to moving towards becoming carbon neutral it is developing a green travel plan for staff commuting and business travel, encouraging video conferencing and skype meetings wherever practical.

It is also investing in an ultra-low emission council vehicle fleet, and introducing 37 new low- emission buses to improve bus services. Cornwall is the only part of the UK to have increased bus usage in recent years.

Rob Nolan, Portfolio holder for Environment and Public Protection, said: “The Clean air for Cornwall Strategy 2019 – 2024 is an essential document for Cornwall Council, for our communities and our partners. It offers a range of interventions and policies that will contribute to tackling poor air quality and ensure future activities and developments help to continually improve the air we breathe, for the wellbeing of our residents and visitors.”

“It shows you how you can reduce the level of pollutants in your home as well as providing advice on how you can adjust your life to keep Cornwall’s air clean. The dual benefits of climate change measures on global warming and air quality cannot be overstated either. This strategy dovetails perfectly with our aspirations for carbon neutrality.”

The strategy document is fully illustrated, with detailed diagrams showing how and where Cornwall’s air quality can be adversely affected, together with practical actions which will help mitigate poor air quality.

It explains how we can all ‘do our bit’ with suggestions including avoiding vehicle engine idling when stationery, servicing home boilers, increased walking and cycling, shared car usage and more use of public transport, skype and video conferencing for meetings, using park and ride, buying dry seasoned wood for home fires. Every one of these helps.

A radical shared pavement/road scheme in Bodmin has seen traffic speeds drop and pollution levels decrease. Cornwall Council also supports the charity Sustrans to encourage pupil walks to school where possible.

The Cornwall Clean Air Strategy is a vital part of both the Local Plan and Health and Wellbeing Strategy, both of which aim to reduce risks to health and advance the wellbeing of people in Cornwall.

You can take part in the survey online. You can also study the current Clean Air for Cornwall Strategy.

Help with completion of online surveys can be sought at Libraries across Cornwall and at council offices.