Southampton City Council is once again facilitating a range of activities to encourage everyone to think about how the city can collectively reduce air pollution on national Clean Air Day.
Held on Thursday, 16 June 2022, the national Clean Air Day is run by Global Action Plan, a UK charity that aims to enable people and businesses to play their part in improving the quality of the air we breathe.
A number of schools across the city are trialling becoming School Streets this month, where they close the road outside their premises to encourage pupils to walk, cycle or scoot instead of travelling by car. There are also 14 schools taking part in a scooter challenge for the chance to win some fantastic active travel prizes including a scooter school programme delivered by professional scooter rider, Terry Price.
The Bike Doctor will be in its usual fortnightly spot at Guildhall Square, helping people to feel confident their bikes are in good condition, and some transport operators are offering discounts. Bluestar is offering a one-day, Southampton zone ticket for just £1 and Voi is offering new riders 15 minutes of free scooting and returning users (those who have not ridden for 21 days), 50% off a day pass on their e-scooters.
Furthermore, the council is launching a consultation on its draft Air Quality Action Plan and is asking residents, businesses and visitors to the city to take some time to look at the plan and summary documents and answer a few questions about the commitments and aims. The council’s first Air Quality Action Plan was adopted in 2008 and since then, the city has seen a gradual improvement to the quality of its air. The new draft Action Plan aims to build on this work to maintain compliance with air quality standards while working towards continual improvements over the next five years. Check Southampton City Council’s Facebook page on Thursday to find how you can have your say in the authority’s draft Air Quality Action Plan.
All the activities planned for Clean Air Day complement existing campaigns the Council is delivering, including a refreshed anti-idling initiative and responsible woodburning. The work seeks to remind people how changing small behaviours, such as switching the car engine offwhen possible, can add up to make a big impact on the quality of the city’s air.
Councillor Lisa Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Housing and the Green Environment, said: “Clean Air Day is a great opportunity to reflect on the impact we are all having on the quality of our air and to find out how we can minimise this. Vehicle use is the biggest contributor to poor air quality in Southampton and there are many ways in which people can reduce their travel. One double decker bus can take up to 75 cars off the road, and we have lots of infrastructure in place to accommodate walking and cycling.”
Clean Air Day marks the beginning of a series of events over the summer to promote more sustainable living, including the Big Green Event at Guildhall Square on Saturday, 30 July.
For more information about clean air and sustainable transport, visit www.myjourneysouthampton.com
Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest clean air campaign and is hosted by Global Action Plan (GAP). See Global Action Plan: an environmental change charity, working for a green and thriving planet