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Exeter CIC launches citywide campaign to tackle air pollution

An Exeter community interest company (CIC) has launched a new 12-month campaign aimed at tackling air pollution in the city.

Exeter City Futures’ campaign, ‘Everyone’s Exeter’, will aim to raise awareness and orchestrate change around transport and energy challenges in the Devon city.

It is hoped that the campaign, which is set to launch next month, will set Exeter on the path to becoming a congestion-free and more energy efficient city.

Liz O’Driscoll, programme director at Exeter City Futures, said: ‘The introduction of Everyone’s Exeter Campaign is a pivotal step towards changing the way we, as a city, shape the place in which we live and work.’

‘As the city economy and population grows, it must also evolve to ensure we tackle these challenges together and to help Exeter city lead the way for sustainability, but most importantly, change. Air pollution is just one part of the campaign for us.’

A Stagecoach bus passes the Guildhall in Exeter city centre. Credit: Geof Sheppard

Each month, the campaign will focus on one of Exeter City Futures’ 12 stated goals, encouraging organisations across the city to pledge to help improve the city.

Challenges the campaign is hoping to tackle include air pollution, affordable housing, and more environmentally friendly travel in and around the city, amongst other issues.

The Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust has already pledged to be part of the campaign, having become a member of the CIC alongside the likes of the University of Exeter and Exeter City Council.

Chris Tidman, the RD&E’s chief financial officer, said that the trust was keen to play its part in shaping a ‘healthier, more efficient’ travel strategy for Exeter.

‘As a major employer of over 8,000 staff and regularly seeing over 2,000 patient visits per day, the RD&E can make a direct impact,’ Tidman said.

‘Recent headlines on air pollution and the associated health concerns caused by cars is just one of the issues that the ‘Everyone’s Exeter’ campaign looks to tackle, and I hope those living and working in Exeter will help support change.’

Everyone’s Exeter’s first focus will be on creating a safer and more reliable transport network for Exeter.

Traffic congestion is one of the biggest problems facing the south-westerly English city, costing the city an estimated £63m each year.

The launch of the campaign comes after research published in the European Heart Journal found that toxic air is now killing more people than tobacco smoking.

Earlier this year the World Health Organisation declared air pollution to be the biggest environmental threat to global health, with air pollution currently causing the premature deaths of around 7 million people each year.

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