Media reaction: 25 February 2021
Bristol City Council plans to introduce a Clean Air Zone in October
Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. It is estimated to contribute to 8.5% of deaths each year in Bristol.
Bristol City Council has approved the introduction of a Clean Air Zone in the city in October during a cabinet meeting today.
Andrea Lee, clean air campaigner at ClientEarth, said: “Bristol’s illegal and harmful air quality has been putting its residents in serious danger for too long so we are pleased to see the council finally agreeing to adopt a Clean Air Zone.
“It’s important to remember that these schemes are put in place for a reason: to protect people’s health. They are proven to be the most effective way to quickly reduce pollution levels so it’s essential that the council delivers the Clean Air Zone and takes action to address any remaining pollution hotspots this year – it can’t delay action any further.
“Bristolians, particularly those on low incomes and small businesses, will need help to adapt to the changes and move to cleaner forms of transport – that’s why the government now needs to step up and provide the council with the right support.”
Notes to editors:
Air pollution is recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the biggest environmental health risk in the world. It also tops the list of environment health hazards in the UK and is estimated to cause the equivalent of up to 40,000 early deaths a year.
ClientEarth has previously won three cases against the UK Government over the country’s illegal and harmful levels of air pollution. As a result, the government has directed over 60 English councils to identify local solutions to reduce pollution to within the legal limit in the shortest possible time.
Research by the UK government shows that Clean Air Zones are the best way to quickly reduce illegal and harmful levels of air pollution in our towns and cities. Recent statistics show that London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has reduced nitrogen dioxide pollution by up to 37% in the 3-month period before the lockdown, compared to a scenario where no ULEZ was in place.
In December last year, a Coroner’s Court in London found that air pollution above legal limits and the WHO guidelines "made a material contribution" to the death of nine-year-old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah. She became the first person to have air pollution listed as a cause of death.
In addition, several UK studies are suggesting links between air pollution and Covid-19:
- Links between air pollution and COVID-19 in England (June 2020)
- Assessing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels as a contributing factor to coronavirus (COVID-19) fatality (July 2020)
- To what extent are social determinants of health, including household overcrowding, air pollution and housing quality deprivation, modulators of presentation, ITU admission and outcomes among patients with SARS-COV-2 infection in an urban catchment area in Birmingham, United Kingdom? (July 2020)
ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. We believe the law is a tool for positive change. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.