Make some positive changes to your life this Clean Air Day

This Thursday is Clean Air Day and Hounslow Council is calling on all residents, visitors and those working in the borough to make a positive change in your life to help protect the environment.

Published: Tuesday, 18th June 2019

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This Thursday (20 June) is Clean Air Day and Hounslow Council is calling on all residents, visitors and those working in the borough to make a positive change in your life that can help protect the environment and our health too. 

Clean Air Day is coordinated by Global Action Plan, on behalf of 200 Supporter organisations, including royal medical colleges, NHS trusts, local authorities, universities and health charities. Global Action Plan believes that people’s choices and voices have a crucial role to play in tackling air pollution. Choosing to drive less, switch to electric vehicles, and burn less fuel at home, for example, can help to bring down pollution to safer levels.

Air Quality is a key priority for Hounslow Council and the borough’s Air Quality Action Plan (2018) outlines a whole raft of measures that the borough is taking to improve air quality and safeguard public health and quality of life.

These measures include a commitment to expanding the number of Electric Vehicle charge points across the borough.

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Pictured: Cllr Dunne at a newly installed EV charge point on St John's Road

We’ve simplified the process for having charge points installed and after being one of the first boroughs to trial fitting EV charge points to lampposts in 2016, Hounslow today has the second highest number of EV charge points of all London boroughs. The number is rising on an ongoing basis due to high demand from residents. The newly elected Mayor of Hounslow, Cllr Tony Louki has opted to use an energy efficient Zipcar over the usual Mayoral car when attending public engagements. 

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Pictured: Cllr Louki with his Zipcar

The borough’s cycling programme has been going from strength to strength over the past few years. Not only does the borough provide free training for all school children in the borough, but it also provides free adult training for everyone, in a programme that sets out to remove barriers and enable underrepresented groups to access cycling. Full details of the borough’s programme can be found on www.hounslow.gov.uk/CycleHounslow 

Since March of this year, the council has been enforcing against engine idling on all roads around the borough. Council staff, school representatives and volunteers will be out on Thursday approaching idling vehicles at the end of the school day, warning of the dangers and enforcing £60 on the spot fines where necessary.

Back by popular demand! This September sees the return of Beat the Street to Hounslow with the whole of Hounslow turned into a giant game with hundreds of sensors called Beat Boxes being hidden across the borough. Players tap these with contactless cards and key fobs to track their journey and earn points. In 2017 the campaign was extremely popular with more than 29,000 residents walked, ran and cycled 160,000 miles together. More than 80 local schools, workplaces and community groups competed against each other to see how far they could travel.

While air quality in London is normally within safe levels, there are times when this can spike and when residents, especially the very young, elderly or those suffering from long-term heart or lung conditions are advised to limit their exposure.

If residents are concerned about Air Quality and would like to receive regular notifications, you can sign up to our free airTEXT service, which sends alerts via text message or email, providing air quality, UV, pollen and temperature forecasts, warns if high pollution is forecast and provides health advice. See www.airtext.info for further details.

Top tips on how to modify your journeys to reduce exposure to air pollution

  • Try reducing the amount you drive into work and or other journeys. Where possible you can split yours journeys across more than one mode of transport, reducing the amount of time you spend in the car. Use quieter streets when you’re on foot to avoid polluted main roads.
  • If you can, try to avoid travelling at rush hour when the pollution levels are often much higher and journeys take longer.
  • If your work allows, it can be good to work from home occasionally, so that you avoid the commute altogether. This can be especially helpful on high air pollution days.
  • Combine shopping trips to limit separate journeys and try to shop locally as much as possible.
  • When it comes to renewing your car, consider an electric vehicle.

Although Hounslow is not currently within the London congestion charging or T-Charge zone, the eastern tip of the borough, Chiswick, will be included in the extension of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone from 2021. To check how much nitrogen oxides (NOx) pollution your vehicle emits, go to: www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/environment/pollution-and-air-quality/cleaning-londons-vehicles

Councillor Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities at Hounslow Council said:

“Clean Air Day is an important day to reflect on our Air Quality, not only here in Hounslow, but further across London, the South East, Nationally and Globally too.

“However, it’s important that we think about Air Quality year-round as well. We all have our part to play day to day in improving air quality for the benefit of ourselves and our communities. A few small changes like walking or cycling to school or work, turning off your engine while waiting in traffic, using car pools wherever possible and limiting the use of chemicals in our gardens are things we can all do that combined can make a big difference."

Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council said:

“The council is committed to fulfilling its statutory obligations and will continue exploring new and innovative ways to improve air quality. Our commitment, coupled with engagement from local groups and communities, will create and deliver environmental improvements that are essential in safeguarding public health and quality of life.

"London’s toxic air is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation. Around half of London’s air pollution is caused by road transport. If everyone makes just a few small changes to how we travel, we can achieve a seismic change in the quality of the air we breathe for everyone's benefit.”

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