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Friday, 23rd Oct 2020

Greens sound alarm as Bristol’s air pollution bounces back

Bristol Green councillors and campaigners are sounding the alarm about rising air pollution in Bristol. Since the end of lockdown, air pollution has begun to rise to dangerous levels again with Bristol city centre already returning to pre-lockdown levels. They say immediate action is needed so we can all breathe safe, clean air.

Clean air is particularly important as coronavirus cases begin to rise, as there is increasing evidence that those who breathe dirty air are more likely to be badly affected by the virus.

Local Green campaigner Ani Stafford-Townsend (pictured) says,

“During lockdown, many people enjoyed the improved air quality with reduced traffic levels. Air pollution has now gone back to pre lockdown levels, and many asthma sufferers like myself have needed to restart medication that we didn’t need to use during lockdown.”

Jerome Thomas, local Green councillor, adds,

“We need clean air across our city – in every community not just the city centre. We need clean air so that parents can feel happy walking their children to school and so that people can exercise without fear of getting an asthma attack. We know that disproportionately the people whose lives are shortened by air pollution are the poorest and most vulnerable members of our communities – it’s time for that to stop.

“We welcome the city centre changes to reduce traffic as a step in the right direction, but it looks likely that this will not be enough to ensure communities across our city are able to breathe clean air.  Government evidence shows that Clean Air Zones are the most effective way of quickly slashing illegal pollution levels. I am calling on the Mayor to share the current measurements on air quality and the impact of his proposals so people can make an informed decision on Clean Air Zones.”

The council has recently opened a consultation on some of the options being considered to improve Bristol’s air. Sadly this consultation doesn’t include the information needed for residents to make an informed choice. Greens want the Mayor to make pollution readings across the city available, as well as the modelled impacts of the different options being considered. Only then can we see which option ensures the cleanest air.

Notes

  • Image is of local Green campaigners Ani and Simon Stafford-Townsend next to the Colston Avenue air pollution monitor.
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