Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is now a recognised partner and supporter of Clean Air Day, the UK’s largest air pollution campaign coordinated by Global Action Plan.
The council will use this as a platform to build on previous air quality improvement initiatives and enhance public understanding and action on air pollution. Part of this will see the council engage and encourage businesses and the community to make Clean Air Day pledges and use the free resources available to them.
Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK. The World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today. Poor air quality causes heart and lung disease and is linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development and may even contribute to mental health issues.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said: “The council has a crucial role to play in improving air quality across Southend-on-Sea and I am delighted the council is now a recognised supporter of the Clean Air Day campaign.
“We will use this as a springboard to engage and encourage businesses and the community to commit to clean air pledges and work with the people of Southend to enhance their understanding and action on air pollution. Working together is the best way to tackle air pollution.”
The council is constantly monitoring air pollution and data is used to inform road transport improvements and major infrastructure projects such as the A127 Kent Elms scheme and recent Bell Junction works which help reduce congestion and improve air quality.
The council declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in December 2020 along part of Victoria Avenue close to the junctions of Fairfax Drive / Priory Crescent and West Street / East Street. In response the council prepared a new Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2025 to improve air quality across the whole Borough. The plan is due for Cabinet in the Spring of 2022.
Jo Gay, head of climate change, added: “I am pleased the council is supporting Clean Air Day as part of our efforts to improve Southend’s air quality and to bolster public understanding and action on air pollution. Since declaring a Climate Emergency two years ago, the council’s climate change programme has become a corporate priority.
“Clean air initiatives the council has introduced include car free school zones to help reduce air pollution from combustion engines, a commitment to plant more trees across the borough which help absorb harmful airborne pollutants, and we actively promote cycling to name just a few. In Southend, we are committed to improving air quality and creating a greener future as we work towards our ambition of achieving Net Zero Carbon by 2030.”
Last month it was announced that the council had made it onto the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) annual A List which showcases the companies leading on environmental transparency and action. Southend is the only local authority in the East of England region to have achieved the A List rating for 2021. The Council has been recognised for its ambition, awareness, transparency and leadership on climate action based on two years’ worth of disclosure and reporting to the CDP on areas covering waste, water, energy and transport.
Visit the council’s Climate Change pages to find out how the council is improving air quality and combatting climate change as well as tips on how you can play your part.
Free resources are also available on the Clean Air Day website which can help you play your part to keep our air clean.