CAMPAIGNING FOR CLEANER AIR!
Bristol Older People’s Forum (BOPF) continues to campaign for better air quality in Bristol, not just for older people, but for everyone. Surveys of our members have consistently shown that it is one of their highest priorities.
Figures indicate that several hundred people in the city die each year due to air pollution, mainly from vehicle emissions. These tend to be more vulnerable older people and those with underlying health conditions. Air pollution impacts more on deprived communities who may have more health issues, and often live in more polluted areas.
Bristol City Council (BCC) consulted widely on two Options for a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in the centre of Bristol, in summer 2019. Our view was that neither Option was sufficient in itself and that the two Options should be combined. This was what BCC’s Cabinet subsequently agreed.
Recently, BCC has said that air pollution levels in central Bristol have reduced since March, due to the impact of Covid-19 – for example, more people are working from home. They are also introducing so-called Fast Track measures such as road closures/pedestrianisation and more cycle tracks, which we strongly welcome. BCC are saying that if the reduced pollution legally required levels are sustained, it may not be necessary to introduce CAZs and charging for more polluting vehicles. This is their preferred approach.
However, if this isn’t the case, then they are proposing two new Options for CAZs:
- Option 1: a small CAZ covering a small area of central Bristol, where there would be charges for all of the older, most polluting diesel vehicles, including private cars.
- Option 2: a medium CAZ covering the small central CAZ, plus a CAZ covering a wider area where again there would be charging, but not for private cars.
BOPF have replied to the Consultation and have supported Option 2. Our view remains that BCC needs to take the most effective measures necessary to improve Air Quality as quickly as possible and reduce the health risks for all Bristol residents, including older people. We will continue to campaign until this is achieved!