Clean Air Day 2018

People in Cornwall joined thousands of others up and down the country on National Clean Air Day (21 June). This event helps raise awareness of air pollution and the things we can all do to reduce it. 

Clean air is everyone’s responsibility

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Cornwall has nine Air Quality Management Areas. Cornwall Council is taking action in all of them to help improve air quality.  But what really makes a difference is when all of us take action.

Doing things when we can instead of driving, such as:

  • walking
  • cycling and
  • taking public transport.

Although Clean Air Day is just one day, it can be the start of a better understanding of how changing our behaviour can improve air quality for everyone in Cornwall.

Cornwall Council staged idling awareness events with partners in St Austell, Camelford and Launceston.  Volunteers from the town councils spoke with drivers waiting in traffic queues, loading bays and parking areas. They gave advice about the benefits of switching off their car engines when stationary for a minute or more.

Transport is a big contributor to air pollution in our towns. This is particularly idling traffic queuing at junctions.  If drivers switch off their engines when their cars are stopped for one minute or more, pollution can be reduced by 20-30%.  It also saves drivers money on fuel and maintenance costs.                        

Year 6 children from Truro Learning Academy visited New County Hall for a talk about air quality.  They received cycling advice and information from Sustrans. They also had a go at whizzing up a cycle powered smoothie.  The children finished the day with a visit to the Council’s air quality monitor at Highertown. This helped them to learn more about how air pollution is measured.

Residents joined in by making personal pledges to help improve air quality.  These included:

  • leaving the car at home for the day
  • walking or cycling to work
  • using public transport
  • switching off their car engine when stationary in traffic
  • working at home, and
  • checking out greener vehicles

One resident shared their thoughts in their Clean Air Day pledge saying:

“My life has been enriched beyond compare due to cycling a short three miles to work on a daily basis…. I have also pledged to help my colleagues get back into cycling by organising a lunchtime cycle ride.”

Another resident already drives an electric van powered by renewable electricity. They pledged to go even greener by car sharing on the trip to work.

One of the key ways to improve air quality is to leave your car at home.  Sustainable travel like public transport and car sharing reduces congestion on our roads. Walking and cycling can also improve your health. Why not try the Truro Park and Ride service if you are travelling into Truro.

People sometimes assume that walkers and cyclists are exposed to more pollution than those in cars.  But car drivers can be exposed to twice as much air pollution as pedestrians and nine times more than cyclists.

There are also simple things walkers and cyclists can do to reduce their exposure to air pollution:

  • avoiding routes with busy traffic
  • travelling on quieter streets.

If you can’t avoid a busy route, even walking as far from the kerb as possible will cut your exposure to pollution.

If you’re thinking about changing your car, consider choosing a greener model.  Road transport causes most air pollution, so low-emission electric vehicles (EVs) are the future. Plus their lifetime costs are less than you might think. So explore an electric, hybrid or LPG model – you’ll save on your road tax too. Find out more about EVs and book a test drive at Go Ultra Low.

If you’re not ready for an EV, then use the EQUA Air Quality Index to check up on emissions for conventional petrol and diesel cars.  Enter a make, model and year to see how your chosen vehicle performs. 

Further information about Clean Air Day is available on the Clean Air Day website.  For further information about air quality in Cornwall, please visit our air quality pages or select the relevant link from the menu.