There are strong concerns that there are currently an estimated 300 people in Bristol dying prematurely as a result of poor quality air, with the very young and very old being particularly vulnerable. There is increasing scientific evidence that poor quality air, particularly from diesel vehicles, does not just adversely affect people’s lungs but can potentially be a cause of other very serious diseases. There needs to be more publicity about these risks.
BOPF members have identified Clean Air as one of their top three priorities, along with Health and Transport, which are related.
As part of the Bristol City Council (BCC) consultation in summer 2019, two traffic Options for improving air quality and bringing it within legal limits were put forward. BOPF Trustees made a submission to the Council urging a more robust approach, by merging the two options and reducing the long compliance period.
At the BCC Cabinet meeting in November 2019, it was agreed that the two options should be merged so there would be:
-a wider Clean Air Zone where there was be a daily charge for non-compliant buses, taxis, HGVs etc…
-in addition, a smaller central Clean Air Zone where diesel vehicle would be banned between 7.00am – 3.00pm, 7 days a week, with appropriate exemptions (still to be decided)
There would also be a shorter compliance period by 2025.
This has now formed the basis of the Outline Business Case submitted to the Government for approval by BCC.
We still believe, however, that there is more that can be done to improve Air Quality such as improving public transport, increasing the number of ‘park and ride’ facilities, deterring buses, taxis and other vehicles from letting their engines idle, and constructing new bus shelters with the glass adjacent to the road to provide more protection from traffic emissions.