SWM News June 2018 - Air quality: Passive choking or time to change?
quality is this generation’s Passive Choking” – Dr Alison Cook, British Lung Foundation.
you want a reminder about how quickly difficult issues can be
solved and our quality of life improved, ask a recent graduate if
they remember smoking in pubs and restaurants. You will be greeted
with horror and subconsciously put in the box marked ‘alive during
Victorian times.’ Yet the public smoking ban in England is only
just over ten years old. Today we face the public health crisis of
air quality, with a debate about how difficult it is and a raft of
initiatives launched this month.
‘Our Comment’ for a full analysis
of the air quality issue including the national move to action and
local activity at the West Midlands Combined Authority and
Birmingham City Council including their forthcoming consultation on the Clean Air Zone
for the city.
is helping by annually monitoring the West Midlands 2020 Roadmap where
air quality impacts our headline social indicator of the life
expectancy gap between the best and worst areas. We helped set and monitor the air
quality target for the WMCA Strategic Economic Plan and Performance
Management Framework, provided annual monitoring updates and
compared performance with other combined authority areas. Through
our local networks and research, we have identified and promoted
good practice within combined authorities, higher education, the
NHS, councils and businesses. We have used this knowledge and
worked with our members such as Cenex, Ecuity and our Public Sector Sustainability and Energy
Network to help develop a regional approach for the WMCA
where it can ‘add value.’ As a result, it is likely that the
current WMCA Environment Board will be strengthened with local
authority members, to help oversee the development and
implementation of a new strategic approach.
the ingredients are there at national, regional and local level to
help make air pollution, like smoking in public places, a thing of
a past. All we need is consistent leadership and the willingness to
work through and implement the detailed solutions. I am looking
forward to ten years’ time, when I talk to a new disbelieving
graduate and explain how we used to sit in metal boxes going
nowhere while they were silently killing us and our neighbours.
Simon Slater, Associate Director of Policy & Partnerships, on
behalf of the SWM team.