What is INTO Air Quality?
INTO Air Quality is a project funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from a Joint bid by Staffordshire County Council on behalf of the Staffordshire Air Quality Forum.
The Staffordshire Air Quality Forum is made up of the 8 districts and Stoke City Council. The project is looking to improve air quality by working with schools, businesses and the public to increase awareness of air quality, and encourage active and sustainable travel in order to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. The project will also be scoping out potential electric vehicle infrastructure and looks at launching campaigns such as anti-idling.
What is air quality?
Air quality is the degree to which the air in an area is pollution free. Air pollution is the largest environmental and the forth largest risk to the public’s health. It affects millions of people worldwide, and is responsible in Staffordshire and Stoke for over 500 deaths in 2015 with the problem getting worse since then.
World Health Organisation director with responsibility for air pollution states “it is a global public health emergency.”
What pollution is there?
In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent the main contributor to poor air quality is from the emissions produced by transport. The two most harmful are detailed below.
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
The most harmful of the oxides produced from vehicle emissions to human health. It can affect our lungs, and breathing, and is very bad for people with asthma and other medical conditions.
Fine Particulates (PM)
Microscopic particles that float around in the atmosphere, they are produced from burning fossil fuels and from braking and tyre wear. Diesel vehicles emit the most PM. In regard to vehicle emissions we have PM 2.5 and PM10. PM 2.5 that are so small they can get into the blood stream and lungs. PM 2.5 is roughly 30 times smaller than a human hair.
You can check out the air quality in your area by visiting the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair's interactive map and inputting your post code.
What can you do?
Poor air quality is predominately linked to transport and the fuel it uses. If we can look to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, or the fuel they use, we can reduce the amount of pollution created.
When you travel actively such as walking, cycling or even scooting you are breathing cleaner air, not producing pollution, and living a healthier lifestyle. (Studies show you can breathe in twice the amount of pollution inside a vehicle as opposed to outside).
Traveling sustainably such as car sharing, or getting the bus or train will reduce pollution from vehicles and can make a big difference.
Electric vehicles have the potential to run without emitting the harmful emissions produced by fossil fuels and therefore using an electric vehicle helps with reducing pollution.
Below are some links to advice and information for walking, cycling, car share and public transport.