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Drive less – Breathe easier : Air Quality email action

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Manchester Friends of the Earth believes that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Mayor need to provide clear leadership on urgent actions to improve air quality by reducing single-occupancy car journeys, cleaning up bus engines, and providing an environment that enables and encourages people of all ages to walk and cycle.

To help people encourage Greater Manchester leaders to take more urgent action we have created a quick and easy email action for people to send to Tony Lloyd (Interim GM Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner of Greater Manchester). See below.

Some background

In April 2015, the Supreme Court ordered the UK Government to develop a new plan to urgently tackle illegal levels of air pollution. The ruling was the culmination of a five year legal battle fought by Client Earth for the right of British people to breathe clean air. There has been so little progress on tackling air pollution in the UK that a judge decided that Client Earth could take the Government back to court. The court case was on 18th and 19th October this year and on 2nd November the High Court again ruled that the Government had failed to implement policies and actions to tackle air pollution.  On 22nd November the High Court gave the Government 8 months to draw up fresh air quality plan.

According to the Royal College of Physicians “Each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution which plays a role in many of the major health challenges of our day. It has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and changes linked to dementia. The health problems resulting from exposure to air pollution have a high cost to people who suffer from illness and premature death, to our health services and to business. In the UK, these costs add up to more than £20 billion every year.”

The air we inhale on the way to work, school and in our neighbourhoods has illegal levels of pollution.  On 27th April 2016, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee report on Air Quality  described air pollution in the UK as a “public health emergency”.

What are the main causes of air pollution in Greater Manchester?

The major threat to clean air is now posed by traffic emissions (DEFRA). According to Policy Exchange,  “diesels [cars] have much higher emissions of local pollutants (NOx and PM) than petrol car.” Greater Manchester road transport accounts for 75% of NOx (oxides of Nitrogen) and 81% of PM (particulate) emissions, along with 32% of CO2 emissions.

The TfGM Low Emissions Strategy concluded that we needed a “significant reduction in the number and length of journeys made by diesel and petrol-fuelled vehicles” and that “radical actions, is needed by all parties to reduce emissions.”

It’s time to tackle the air pollution from too much dirty traffic.

Cut Air Pollution - drive less #tfgm2040

What does Friends of the Earth think?

Friends of the Earth is a partner organisation of the Healthy Air Campaign and we are calling for urgent action on air pollution. It is estimated that air pollution causes nearly 2000 people to die prematurely in Greater Manchester each year.

Manchester Friends of the Earth has been campaigning for the Greater Manchester local authorities and Transport for Greater Manchester to take more radical actions to reduce air pollution. In our response to the Greater Manchester Low Emissions and Air Quality Action Plan (GMLES)  consultation we highlighted that when it came to the actions proposed that the GM Low Emission Strategy had ‘ducked’ the harder challenge of tackling the largest contributors to air pollution in Greater Manchester namely, single-occupancy car use for short journeys throughout the conurbation.

How can you take part?

To help people encourage Greater Manchester to take more urgent action we have created a quick and easy email action for people to send to Tony Lloyd (Interim GM Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner of Greater Manchester).  The key demands are listed below:

  • Implement Clean Air Zones in city and district centres.
  • Stop building day nurseries and schools near air pollution hotspots.
  • A comprehensive air quality monitoring network for all areas in Greater Manchester.
  • Establish a Greater Manchester Active Travel Fund for the development of high quality walking and cycling routes (minimum of £20 per person)
  • All new taxis and buses should be zero emission vehicles by 2018.  The whole fleet should be zero emissions by 2025.
  • Create a GM Clean Air Fund to support a public information campaign about the impacts of air pollution and how people and businesses can help reduce pollution.
  • Appoint a Clean Air Champion to ensure urgent action on air quality
  • Provide an integrated, affordable, frequent and convenient public transport system.

Take the email action

The text for the email action is below.  (You can edit the email text if you prefer).

Dear Tony Lloyd,

The Royal College of Physicans (RCP) reported that air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths each year in the UK.  It has been estimated that air pollution causes nearly 2000 people to die prematurely in Greater Manchester each year.

Air pollution has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and changes linked to dementia.  The health problems resulting from exposure to air pollution have a high cost to people who suffer from illness and premature death, to our health services and to business. The Royal College of Physicians report estimated that these costs add up to more than £20 billion every year in the UK.  This equates to a cost in the order £800 million for Greater Manchester (based on per capita population).

Earlier this year, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee report on Air Quality  described air pollution in the UK as a “public health emergency”.

I am writing to you to urge you to take the urgent and radical actions required across Greater Manchester to tackle this public health emergency.  I call on you to:

  • Implement Clean Air Zones in city and district centres.
  • Stop building day nurseries and schools near air pollution hotspots.
  • A comprehensive air quality monitoring network for all areas in Greater Manchester.
  • Establish a Greater Manchester Active Travel Fund for the development of high quality walking and cycling routes (minimum of £20 per person)
  • All new taxis and buses should be zero emission vehicles by 2018.  The whole fleet should be zero emissions by 2025.
  • Create a GM Clean Air Fund to support a public information campaign about the impacts of air pollution and how people and businesses can help reduce pollution.
  • Appoint a Clean Air Champion to ensure urgent action on air quality
  • Provide an integrated, affordable, frequent and convenient public transport system.

I look forward to receiving your reply.

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

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