Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Reducing pollution in cities like Leicester will require a political will from the top

  • Comment

Alongside climate change, air quality is one of the two great environmental challenges of today.

In Leicester, we are a facing this challenge head-on with an ambitious and far-reaching 10-year plan to improve air quality. It will help to significantly reduce air pollution in our city, to a level lower than that required by law.

We are already making good progress in achieving cleaner, healthier air but we know that more needs to be done.

In busy cities like Leicester, tackling emissions from diesel vehicles is vital to public health and creating a better environment for everyone.

cars and exhaust fumes

Reducing pollution in cities like Leicester will require a political will from the top

Source: Alamy

The number of diesel cars grew from 3.2 million to 8.2 million between 2000 and 2010

Locally, we are working closely with bus operators to invest in cleaner engine technology and we’ll see a low-emission zone introduced around our city centre bus stations later this year.

We are also working hard to encourage take-up of low emission vehicles, and promote more sustainable and active forms of transport.

We are steadily replacing our own vehicles with ultra-low emission alternatives, and will halve emissions for our fleet in the next 10 years.

We also continue to successfully attract significant amounts of funding for our efforts to get more people walking and cycling.

Our city centre has seen a massive investment in safer and more attractive routes for pedestrians and cyclists, and we are seeing the results of that in increasing numbers of daily cyclists. We’ve set an ambitious target of 26,000 daily cyclists by 2018, and want to double that by 2023.

Looking to the near future, we are now exploring the potential for an ultra-low emission zone in the city centre, and the possibility of creating a new freight consolidation centre on the outskirts of Leicester. This will help reduce the number of the most polluting vehicles entering the busiest parts of the city.

We are absolutely committed to taking action to improve air quality in our city, but we can’t do this alone.

To achieve more than marginal gains will be a hugely challenging exercise requiring political will at the highest level, but the prize for accepting this might be worth it.

We need binding legislation that recognises the threat of dirty air to human health.

Tackling poor air quality will save the NHS money, increase productivity in the workplace and ultimately save lives.

I am fortunate to be able to see first-hand the way that our residents, schools, businesses, community groups, bus, freight and taxi companies are all willing to engage with this important agenda.

It is time that we saw that same level of commitment and a renewed sense of urgency from the government to deliver healthier air for everyone.

Adam Clarke (Lab), assistant mayor for energy and sustainability, Leicester City Council

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.