Thursday 20th June 2019 is Clean Air Day.
Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts. It is a recognised contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. Additionally, air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable in society: children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions.
The annual health costs to society of particulate matter (a mix of organic and inorganic particles, such as dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets that are hazardous) in the UK is estimated to be around £16 billion. (DEFRA Abatement cost guidance for valuing changes in air quality, May 2013)
Since December 1997 each Local Authority within the UK has a duty to carry out a review and assessment of air quality within their area, this involves measuring key air pollutants. The environmental protection team deploys diffusion tubes to monitor air quality at seventeen location across the district.
Additionally, The District of Ashfield is a Smoke Control Area and the Environmental Protection Team use the Clean Air Act Legislation to control the levels of air pollution from domestic, commercial and industrial combustion activities. In addition, air pollution within the district from key industrial processes is regulated by the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016.
The Trans-boundary nature of air pollution sources and episodes make it a prerequisite that Ashfield District Council works with partner organisations to control air pollution problems and develop strategies for reducing levels of detrimental air pollution.
Over the last year the environmental protections team at ADC have represented and worked with the Nottinghamshire Environmental Protection Working Group, the public health team at the County Council and at the regional level the East Midlands Air Quality Network. to update the Nottinghamshire Air Quality Strategy.
Residents who work, rest and play in Ashfield can take steps to improve local air quality by electing to adjust their life style choices. These changes centre on the increased use of sustainable transport and a reduction in personal car use.
Ashfield has good links to all forms of public transport. The Robin Hood railway line (which runs from Nottingham to Worksop) has stations at Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Sutton Parkway and Hucknall. Hucknall is also a terminus for the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) tram route to Nottingham.
Walking and cycling also makes a positive contribution to resolving the problems associated with detrimental air quality in congested areas and are good for an individual’s general health. Cycling and walking also set a great example to our children and ensure they get exercise and promotes social interaction.
Many schools operate group cycling or walking schemes. If you wish to join in and contribute to reducing pollutants whilst encouraging increased health, please contact your local school to see if they participate.