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Thursday 21st June 2018


Clean Air Day is a national initiative to raise awareness about the effects of air pollution on our health, and what we can do to minimise it.

It’s no secret that the UK’s air pollution is a big problem. So much so, Friends of the Earth recently stated that a child born in the UK in 2017, may not breathe clean air until they are eight years old.

It’s no surprise the worst offenders are the big cities. In a bid to tackle the issue, this year the Government announced £260 million funding, as part of a campaign to improve the most polluted areas.

Air pollution is mainly due to:

Cars, especially diesel cars and those that have not been well maintained

• Emissions from deliveries

• Open fires and stoves

"All of the organs in the body seem to be affected in some way by breathing in air pollution." - Professor Frank Kelly, Director of the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London.

In London, a two-stage initiative is taking place that focuses on nitrogen dioxide, the biggest cause of air pollution.

T CHARGE: In place now, is the first step in addressing central London’s air pollution, caused by vehicles. Vehicles will have to meet certain exhaust emission standards, or face a £10 charge. This charge applies only during congestion zone charge hours.

ULTRA LOW EMISSION ZONE (ULEZ): From 8 April 2019, the rules toughen up and vehicles travelling in to central London will have to meet even stricter exhaust emission standards. The difference with ULEZ being that this charge applies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The ULEZ will cost the most polluting vehicles £12.50 and buses, coaches and HGVs will pay £100, on top of the current congestion charge. In addition to this, extending the congestion zone is a topic up for consultation in coming months.

Air pollution causes tens of thousands of early deaths each year, and it is time for the UK to face the problem head-on. With Government initiatives, advances in vehicle design and an emphasis on taking alternative modes of transport, let’s hope in the near future, the UK’s children have the chance to breathe fresh air - before their eighth birthday.

Join the conversation on social media and share what you're doing to tackle the problem, using the hashtags #cleanairday #liftthefog

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