Air Quality: Breathing Our Last? 5/6/19

Date of Conference

05 June 2019


  • Larissa Lockwood, Global Action Plan
  • Catherine Westoby, Transport for London
  • Tom Hendy, Sustainability West Midlands
  • Maggie Fennel, Boningale
  • Tony Machin, Cenex
  • Hannah Coogan, CIWEM
  • Dr. Suzanne Bartington, University of Birmingham/WM Air

All presentations are available to download at the bottom of this page!

Purpose of the presentations

This was the first network event we ran for the 2019 financial year, encouraging all members of our networks and other interested parties. We were exploring the wider impacts of air quality as well as a range of lessons learnt from work being carried out across the country as well as solutions. The presentation we heard from Larissa at Global Action Plan gave a great coverage of the different projects they are working on, with a great focus on #CleanAirDay which takes place on June 20 this year, as well as the Clean Air Hub among other brilliant initiatives. Providing us with a context of the health implications of air quality really cemented the urgency we must be acting with to tackle poor air quality. Following Global Action Plan, was a presentation from Catherine Westoby at Transport for London, where we were heard some of the lessons they’ve learnt since implementing the ULEZ in London earlier this month. Further to this, Catherine explained how the expansion of the ULEZ would occur as well as other projects and strategies that will be implemented to support this growth. After a comfort break, we reconvened for a short workshop session, looking at the development of the West Midlands Sustainability Roadmap to 2030, with a specific focus on the air quality. Breaking out into groups, we discussed whether these targets were realistic and ambitious, and whether there are other targets that should be included. This conversation was captured and will be use for the ongoing development of the Roadmap, ready for the first draft which is being presented at the SWM Summer Social on June 25! The next speaker to present to us was Maggie from Boningale Nurseries. Maggie spoke about the importance of tackling air quality as an issue, but also suggested some solutions. Speaking about green infrastructure as a solution that is not all that seriously considered at this stage unfortunately, due to skepticism over its effectiveness, if there was one message to take away from this presentation it is that it is a viable option, but it is essential to plant the right plants, in the right place! We then heard from our event sponsors, Cenex, who went over a range of their case studies and projects they’ve worked and continue to develop. Hearing about the exciting opportunities emerging around Low Carbon and Ultra Low Emissions vehicles, left the room full of enthusiasm, ideas and questions. All together, a great presentation. Our final speaker was Hannah Coogan from CIWEM, whom we partnered with for the development of this event. She introduced the work they do, and the perks of working with them, a great way to close the event and leave people wanting to know more. Dr. Suzanne Bartington’s presentation can be found on CIWEM’s website!


100% of delegates providing feedback rated Air Quality: Breathing Our Last as excellent or good in terms of organisation and again, 100% did so on content. Feedback included: “Best travel options information for any event! It inspired me to update ours! Lots of good info generally!” “Already a member, thanks for another great event!” “SWM events are always thought-provoking, excellent for networking and brilliantly organised. Well done to all the team.” “Another excellent event. Good to meet old friends and make some new ones. Plus to feel energised to carry on fighting the good fight!” Twitter highlights included: Anna Bright and Tom Hendy from kicking off proceedings at the ‘Air Quality: Breathing our Last?’ event here Looking forward to hearing more from Sustainability West Midlands about how we can tackle air quality in the West Mids @HEE_WMidlands A really engaging presentation from Maggie on the power of and how we should change our views of plants as merely ornamental to plants as multi-functional tools. Great afternoon at ‘s Air Quality event today. We have just heard from Larissa Lockwood from discussing options on how to make cleaner travel choices.  

Next Steps

We will be hoping to continue this conversation with everyone who is interested in doing so, and will certainly be using the information gathered at the workshop to create a more well-rounded and encompassing Roadmap to 2030. We hope this event inspired you, and you took as much as way as you gave us!

Contact Information

For more information contact or call 0121 237 5890.


Larissa Lockwood – Global Action Plan Catherine Westoby – Transport for London Maggie Fennel – BoningaleTony Machin – CenexHannah Coogan – CIWEMTom Hendy and Anna Bright – Sustainability West Midlands


SWM is very grateful for the support of all delegates and exhibitors…

  • Cenex
  • Global Action Plan
  • Transport for London
  • Boningale Nurseries
  • University of Birmingham
  • WM Air Team

Related content