Solihull Council is committed to improving air quality. Although the borough’s air is within national air quality objectives, the Council is working closely with businesses, schools and communities to have cleaner air.
Air pollution is the top environmental risk to human health in the UK so the Council has been monitoring air quality over the past two years. Diffusion tubes, 31 strategically placed, are measuring nitrogen dioxide (NO2) across the borough, and specialist monitors are being used to measure particulate matter.
The data collected is adding to the picture of air quality across the borough to inform the future direction of the Council’s Clean Air Strategy 2019-2024.
It is recognised that children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution so all primary schools have recently been offered the opportunity to install diffusion tubes in their school grounds.
The Council is also working with primary aged pupils to teach safe bikes skills, road awareness and road safety to encourage children to either bike or walk to school with friends and family.
Local businesses are being supported to develop travel plans that encourage the use of public transport or cycling and walking which are less polluting ways for people to get to work.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council said:
“We are taking air quality very seriously which is why we are offering diffusion tubes to primary schools; it is about our children’s future and looking after the most vulnerable in our communities. We are working closely with schools so that the air quality data can feed into their curriculum activities and also help us build a borough-wide picture.
“We also have a number of initiatives that will over time contribute to better air quality. These include the district energy network for Solihull town centre, which could bring affordable, low carbon heating to local buildings.
“While our £16.8m Wildlife Ways programme, part funded by the ERDF, aims to connect wildlife sites and public open space. This will improve existing routes allowing wildlife to flourish, again helping to improve the air we breathe and encouraging people to walk and cycle across the Borough.”
Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Planning and Housing added:
“We’re trying to give children the confidence to cycle and walk to school with family and friends, so that parents can leave the cars behind as road traffic is one of the main causes of pollution. We all need to think about leaving the car at home – even if it’s just for one day per week and use public transport, walk or cycle.
“Our review of the Local Plan will allow us to embed policies to deliver our Clean Air Strategy ambitions. We will use the health supplementary planning guidance to influence the design and location of new developments to improve the wellbeing of residents.”