People across Sheffield are having their say on a proposed Clean Air Zone for the city. Consultation begins in early 2019.
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health for Sheffield, said:
“Air pollution is the largest environmental risk to the public’s health. It can have harmful effects on human health, the economy and the environment. It contributes to cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and respiratory diseases and increases the chances of hospital admissions, visits to A&E and respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms which impact on everyday life, especially for people who are already vulnerable.
“While bad air quality affects everyone, it has a disproportionate impact on the young and old, the sick and the poor. Poor air quality affects the most disadvantaged communities most – so any improvement in air quality will have positive health consequences. The air quality impacts of driving are already widely discussed and understood, and while non-compliant vehicles aren’t the only source of air pollution there are cost-effective changes that can be implemented both locally and nationally to secure cleaner cities and a clean, green economy.
“Alongside national measures, this kind of local leadership is essential.”
Sheffield Friends of the Earth’s spokesperson, Shaun Rumbelow, said:
“Air pollution is a major public health issue across the country as well as in Sheffield. Without action there will be more people suffering breathing problems and ultimately more avoidable deaths.
“The council recognise that simply charging the most polluting lorries, vans, buses and taxis will not achieve the clean air we all deserve unless other solutions are also implemented. We need to improve public transport and create an improved environment for cycling and walking. Cleaner vehicles will be required together with charging infrastructure.
“We hope to work with the council on the detail of this plan and we will continue to lobby the government for adequate funding to implement the solutions.”
Chris Stewart, Headteacher at Hallam Primary School, said:
“We want to encourage our children to play in the playgrounds and be protected from the damage that air pollution has on young lungs.
“We have a duty of care towards our pupils and it’s difficult to protect against pollution when it comes from outside the school. We are working on an anti-idling campaign for parents but we welcome any initiative that will make the air cleaner for Sheffield children.”
Ibrar Hussain of the GMB Union S75 Taxi Branch that represents Taxi drivers said:
“It’s absolutely right that the council takes bold action to tackle the air pollution problem. I know that taxi drivers want to be part of the solution and we need to all work together.
“We are looking forward to seeing more details about the support and funding that there will be to help upgrade the city’s taxi fleet, Without funding the trade is not in a position to invest while saturation through cross border hiring is crippling the drivers income.”
Dr Kelechi Ugonna, Paediatric Respiratory Consultant at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said:
“There is very good evidence that links short-term exposure to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution with an increase in children having to be admitted to hospital for breathing problems. This includes respiratory illnesses such as lung infections and asthma attacks.
“We’ve also seen growing evidence that air pollution caused by traffic is harmful in the long term. It may have negative impacts on the development, growth and general health of our children’s lungs.
“I would therefore wholeheartedly support appropriate environmental measures that raise overall air quality to improve the health of our children. We all need to be working together to give children the healthiest future possible.”
SYPTE Director of Public Transport, Ben Gilligan, said: SYPTE Director of Public Transport, Ben Gilligan, said:
“While over £18.3 million has already been invested in local buses and infrastructure through initiatives such as the Better Bus Area scheme to make public transport more punctual and reliable, more must be done to improve the vehicles that still have older engines to help achieve cleaner air.
“Following the successful bid to DEFRA, bus operators have been granted £1.9m to retrofit 117 vehicles across the city’s network with emission reduction technology by the end of 2019 which will add to the recent delivery of 44 new Euro VI buses for services 1/1a and 56. These greener buses will run on the busiest and most polluted corridors, to lower congestion and harmful emissions. We welcome further opportunities to improve the emissions standards of the Sheffield bus fleet and we’re also continuing to encourage people to choose sustainable travel instead of the car for all or some of their journey as ultimately this is the answer to improving air quality. Walking, cycling, tram and tram-train are all zero emissions at source, so can help to contribute to a healthier environment for all and a full bus can take as many as 75 cars off the road.”