SCHOOL children, businesses and local communities are leading a new campaign to help improve air quality in Staffordshire.
Encouraging employees to use more sustainable travel to and from work and travel plans for pupils and parents to encourage greener travel are amongst the activities to help raise awareness of improving air quality.
So far, 15 schools, 6,500 pupils and 1,000 parents in priority areas are already involved in the process learning about the issues and working to reduce car journeys to school, as well as persuading drivers not to leave their engines running while parked.
Local businesses, including Holland and Barrett are also joining the campaign by encouraging employees to use greener modes of travel or things like sharing lifts to help reduce the number of journeys made.
The campaign was launched today (Thursday 20 June) as part of Clean Air Day.
Helen Fisher, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Transport and Highways, said: “We know that air pollution, especially from vehicles on some of our most congested main roads can cause many health issues and it’s important we do what we can to improve air quality for everyone.
“Our Air Aware Staffordshire campaign is really simple and will help to raise everyone’s awareness of the small, easy things we can all do to reduce air pollution and help us all breathe easier.
“Air pollution is a problem for everyone in our society but by working together we can make a real difference. For example, by walking or cycling to work and school, we can improve our health through exercise, limit air pollution and lower greenhouse gases. And by getting employees to consider more active travel options or even sharing a lift with a colleague will also help make a real difference.
“Furthermore, the majority of car journeys in Staffordshire are less than 5 miles which can show people how easy it could be to reduce their car travel.”
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It is estimated that around 390 deaths per year are attributable to poor air quality in Staffordshire every year.
Staffordshire County Council is one of 16 nationally to receive funding from the Government for improvement work and is working with its districts and boroughs, as well as Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Highways England. The campaign will run until the summer of 2020.
People can find out more about the small actions they can take to help them travel differently one day a week at http://airaware.doingourbit.info