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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Highland Council Supporting Clean Air Day 2022

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Highland Council is supporting Clean Air Day 2022 and is reminding everyone of the many ways in which people can take steps towards cleaner air.

Clean Air Day takes place on 16 June and has been on the Scottish calendar since its inception in 2017.

It is organised by Environmental Protection Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government’s Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 strategy.

The main theme for this year’s Clean Air Day is “Air Pollution impacts our health from our first breath to our last,” and is a particularly powerful message which underlines how important collective action is to ensuring clean air for everyone.

People can take steps towards cleaner air by:

  • Talking to other residents in your communities, your staff, co-workers and your local councillors or MSPs about the harms of air pollution.
  • Walking, cycling or scooting and encouraging others to do so in your local area –we need to cut the 23% of vehicle trips in Scotland that are under one mile, these are the most polluting and, often unnecessary, as there are plenty of local shops and other services which can be accessed by bike, scooter or on foot.
  • Consider using a quieter, less polluted side street when you’re on your bike, scooter or on foot, your exposure to air pollution in these streets is up to 30% lower than if you walk or cycle next to a busy road.
  • Get ready to go electric ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new diesel cars and vans or join a car share and try out an electric vehicle, they are cleaner, easier to drive and quieter than old-fashioned combustion engine cars and vans.

Leader of Highland Council, Cllr Raymond Bremner said:

“The Council is proud to be supporting Clean Air Day once again.

“Poor air quality is not a fact of life.

“Our air pollution crisis is solvable and there are simple steps we can all take to help our family avoid toxic air and cut down on the pollution we emit – it’s good for us and good for the planet too.”

He added:

“It’s fantastic to see the wealth of learning which is being made available to our school who are now learning about the health benefits cycling, walking and the benefits this has on air quality, in our towns and rural areas.

“We are particularly pleased to see a new set of Gaelic resources which will be warmly welcomed by our native Gaelic speakers.”

Highland Council’s Environmental Health team is involved in air quality monitoring. You can find information on the DEFRA website which contains access to monitoring data from a few sites in Highland that the team is involved with.

Anyone can download and print off Clean Air Day leaflets with helpful tips about how to reduce your own and other peoples’ exposure to air pollution; facts about buying an electric vehicle; how to organise a ‘school street’ or street closure in your community and how to engage your business or organisation to reduce traffic emissions and consider cycling, walking or using public transport to get to and from work.

Anyone can print or download a Clean Air Day pledge card from the resource packs to your mobile device – then post or tweet about your commitment to a low or zero polluting activity on Clean Air Day using the hashtag #CleanAirDay

There are also resources with ideas for classroom learning towards the end of term and staff can also download the fantastic Clean Air Day schools resource packs which are tied into the Learning for Sustainability framework of the Curriculum for Excellence.

There is a plethora of information available to engage pupils younger and older age group pupils – from giving them an opportunity to design a ‘Clean Air Day superhero’ to outdoor air pollution surveys or a traffic count to raise awareness of how many people are parking outside your school.

Last year almost 200 Scottish participating organisations and individuals from the Highlands to the Borders took part in Clean Air Day and Environmental Protection Scotland gave away lots of colouring in books with a low carbon/polluting theme for children to colour in.

You can download the aforementioned resources here.

The Council is also operating 85 public EV (Electric Vehicle) charge points across the region and is continuing to expand the network further.

The local authority is undertaking a pathfinder project which will identify the future demand and requirements for charging facilities across Highland, and identify possible delivery models to enable this.

EV charging provision is expected to evolve into a combination of home, workplace, public and private network infrastructure.

The Highland Council is not intended to be the sole provider of EV charge points, and aims to encourage local businesses and organisations to install publicly available charge points as well as private uptake for home charging.

The Council recommends visiting Charge Place Scotland to identify the nearest and any new publicly available charge points.

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