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News release: Get animated about air pollution!

13th August 2018

Today, Tuesday 14th August, Manchester Friends of the Earth are launching a powerful animation to highlight the damage caused by air pollution in Greater Manchester.

The animation, created by Hannah Langfield a Manchester-based motion designer, vividly shows the dangers of air pollution to children and the benefits from enabling more people to walk or cycle to school. [1]

The animation highlights that:

* In many parts of Greater Manchester air pollution breaches the World Health Organisation’s recommended levels.

* Each year in the UK 40,000 people die prematurely and 6 million sick days are taken due to poor air quality.

* In cities, most of this pollution comes from cars.

* If you sit in the car you breathe in 8 times more pollution than someone cycling…

* Reducing exposure to air pollution and introducing exercise into the day will improve academic performance as children arrive brighter and more alert for their first morning class.

Hannah Langfield, the animation creator said:
“I think there are a lot of issues that can be resolved by gathering more awareness on social media and I felt that animation was a great way to do this, particularly on the subject of Air quality as I wanted something to get through to the parents as well as the children.”

14th August is also the closing date for the consultation on the Government’s draft Clean Air Strategy. Manchester Friends of the Earth’s response is calling on the Government to show the leadership and ambition urgently needed to clean up our illegal & harmful levels of air pollution and to give all local councils the resources to meet their legal obligations to reduce air pollution as quickly as possible. [2]

Air pollution in Greater Manchester is estimated to be responsible for 2000 premature deaths a year [3] and to cost the region £1 billion a year. [4]

The government’s own analysis shows that Clean Air Zones – areas in which the most polluting vehicles are charged to enter – are the quickest way to clean up our toxic air. But despite this the government have not supported any new Clean Air Zones across the country.

Instead, local councils, including Greater Manchester, have merely been tasked with producing a further local plan, meaning another wait for the action needed to protect people’s health.

Catherine Thomson, Manchester Friends of the Earth campaigner, said:
“We need urgent action to introduce the measures to protect people’s health in the shortest time possible. Government ministers know that Clean Air Zones are essential to give us breathable air fast. The fact that they have failed to support local councils to introduce the best measures is an absolute scandal.”

Manchester Friends of the Earth is calling on the government to urgently introduce Clean Air Zones in all the locations predicted to have illegal levels of air pollution.

The group is also calling for Theresa May to provide a safety net for drivers by introducing a comprehensive diesel scrappage scheme funded by a ‘diesel-gate levy’ on vehicle manufacturers.


Contacts for comments:

Pete Abel, Manchester Friends of the Earth air quality campaigner. Mobile: 07951 642858. Email:

Graeme Sherriff, Manchester Friends of the Earth sustainable transport campaign co-ordinator. Mobile: 07948 405071. Email:

Notes for Editors

[1] Healthy Air animation

See other animations and videos from Hannah at

[2] Manchester Friends of the Earth response to DEFRA Clean Air Strategy consultation.

[3] See GM Combined Authority website.

[4] IPPR North Atmosphere report.

[5] DEFRA draft Clean Air Strategy consultation.

[6] Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on the group’s website:

Manchester Friends of the Earth is a Licensed Local Group of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.