Event

Clean air for all – tackling air pollution and creating cleaner environments

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The Times has launched its air pollution campaign with a manifesto for change which calls for a new Clean Air Act to confer a legal right to clear air for everyone in the UK. 

Join Ben Webster, The Times environment editor and a panel of experts on the evening of Monday, July 22 at the News Building as we discuss the possible solutions to one of our era’s greatest challenges; to make cities less polluted, greener and healthier places to live.

Drastic intervention is required to create environmentally smarter cities. The roads in our cities are overcrowded and poor air quality is killing us with research linking dirty air second only to smoking as a cause of death and illness in Britain. The government estimates that 28,000 to 36,000 deaths in the UK are caused annually by air pollution. A study this year put the figure at closer to 64,000.
 

The first Clean Air Act, introduced in 1956 in response to the Great London Smog of 1952, was a world first. Britain has since lost its mantle as the world leader on tackling air pollution. The main difference now is that the poisons in our air are less visible. Research shows that around 6,500 schools, educating 2.6 million children are located in areas where fine particles, known as PM2.5 exceed the World Health Organisation recommended limit of 10 micrograms per cubic metre.

Extinction Rebellion recently filled London’s street calling for radical change to the way we embrace our approach to climate change and we are beginning to realise that our approach to environmental matters needs to be taken much more seriously.  In April, London introduced its “ultra-low emission zone” and Birmingham has been praised for is own clean air zone in the city centre, with both cities having plans for expansion of the zones over the next two years. 

A new clean air plan published earlier this year, ministers promised to reduce levels of toxic pollution but there is still much more to be done. Like Paris, Madrid and Oslo, we can find alternative approaches and our panel will explore which solutions they feel would be most effective.

Click here to find out more.

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