Poor air quality is linked to hundreds of early deaths across Newcastle, Gateshead, and North Tyneside.
Evidence from the World Health Organisation shows it’s particularly dangerous to the health of the very young and very old, as well as people who are already living with long-term health conditions like asthma.
There’s no safe level of exposure to air pollution, the effects of which build up over time. Air pollution is linked with cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease.
Recent government data shows that air quality on a section of the A167 Tyne Bridge and Central Motorway and part of the A1058 Coast Road will still be above legal limits by 2021 unless action is taken.
Some areas in and around Newcastle have faced challenges with levels of pollution being higher than legal limits.
To tackle this, Newcastle City Council needed to look at the wider area. Simply looking at local issues can just move the problem on to other areas, rather than solving it.
Solving the problem
Newcastle City Council worked with neighbouring authorities in Gateshead and North Tyneside to develop proposals for tackling traffic-related air pollution.
The proposals include plans for a Clean Air Zone in Newcastle city centre. Charges to enter the zone would affect buses, coaches, HGVs, taxis and vans that do not meet required emissions standards.
In addition, the city is proposing changes to the road layout on the Tyne Bridge and Central Motorway, priority bus routes, and improved routes for walking and cycling.
The plans also include grants for the drivers of certain vehicles to help them upgrade to newer, cleaner models, and exemptions for certain vehicles.
The Clean Air Zone plan is one of a number of initiatives that the Council is working on to improve air quality.
- creating more efficient bus routes
- improving cycle networks
- improving our own fleet by introducing cleaner vehicles
- upgrading traffic signals to keep traffic flowing and prevent congestion by co-ordinating movements through junctions
- promoting initiatives such as car-sharing and car clubs
- providing more charging points for ultra-low emissions vehicles.
You can find details of these plans, their progress and the public consultation at www.breathe-cleanair.com.