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Air quality campaign launched in Leicester

Healthy Air Leicester campaign set to work ‘closely’ with council on improving high levels of traffic pollution in the city

An air quality campaign launched by Leicester environmental groups this week to try and tackle traffic pollution in the area has been welcomed by the city council.

The Healthy Air Leicester campaign was launched on Tuesday (September 17) by demonstrators wearing gas masks on the footbridge above Burley’s Way and the council says it is keen to work with the group.

Campaigners launch the Healthy Air Leicester on Burley's Way bridge

Campaigners launch the Healthy Air Leicester on Burley’s Way bridge

According to the campaign group, which is led by Leicester Friends of the Earth (FoE), the city has the worst air quality of any town in England and the ninth worst in the whole of Europe.

The group said Leicester’s poor air quality was primarily due to geographical factors and hoped to work closely with the council to try and improve the situation.

Malcolm Hunter, Leicester FoE spokesman, said: “The fact that nitrogen dioxide levels in Leicester are particularly high is primarily due to geographic factors, rather than any particular shortcomings on the part of our local council, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing that can be done.â€?

Mr Hunter also criticised the government’s proposals to remove obligations for local authorities to monitor air quality, a consultation on which ended last month (see airqualitynews.com story).

He claimed that in “drastically reducingâ€? local air quality monitoring of pollution in the UK, the government appeared “to want to just cover it upâ€?.

Mr Hunter said: “We therefore hope to work closely with Leicester City Council, to identify ways to improve the situation; and to support them in seeking any extra powers and resources that they may need to do so.â€?

Campaigners donned gas masks to demonstrate high traffic pollution levels in Leicester

Campaigners donned gas masks to demonstrate high traffic pollution levels in Leicester

The launch coincides with the EU’s European Mobility Week, which this year focuses on air quality and aims to encourage alternative methods of transport to driving cars (see airqualitynews.com).

Commenting on the Healthy Air Leicester campaign, deputy mayor of the city council, Rory Palmer, said: “The city council takes its responsibility to monitor and improve air quality very seriously. We have set out an ambitious plan for air quality management in the city as well as our Low Carbon City Action Plan. We are investing in measures to reduce vehicle pollution including encouraging more people to use public transport, cycle or walk.â€?

He added: “Friends of the Earth do an important job raising awareness of these important issues and I am keen that the council works with them on this important issue.â€?

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