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Recommendations made to improve Warwickshire air quality

Thirteen new recommendations have been made to improve air quality in Warwickshire, with Leamington and Warwick being amongst the worst 50 towns in the UK according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO model, which was created in collaboration with the University of Bath, is based on data derived from satellite measurements, air transport models and ground station monitors, from over 3000 locations.

Air quality control has been a hotly debated issue within Warwickshire over the past few years. The growing concerns over pollution were the subject of a Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting in 2015, with it decided that a transport-related air quality task-and-finish group was needed to address and improve the situation.

In the recent months following the WHO report, the task and finish group has focused in its attempt to reduce air pollution on reducing the number of vehicle journeys in the area.

The Committee’s air quality report makes a further thirteen recommendations that are aimed at improving air quality across Leamington and Warwick.

The recommendations range from: “Holding housing developers to account on their green travel promises, to piloting new portable air quality monitoring equipment that will allow people to see pollution levels during a regular car journey.”

The committee report was adopted by Warwickshire County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday and has now become a key policy issue within the council.

According to Councillor Jonathan Chilvers, Chair of the air quality task and finish group: “Air quality is an issue that affects us all…with an estimated 240 people dying each year in Warwickshire due to air pollution-related issues.”

Such figures are not unheard of, with the WHO reporting in 2012 that an estimated 11.6% of global deaths had some level of association with indoor or outdoor air pollution.

Speaking to the Leamington Courier, Chilvers commented: “The scheme is a great step towards improving air quality and reducing congestion throughout Leamington and Warwick.”

Council Officers are soon expected to begin assessing the cost effectiveness of other prominent recommendations, such as Brompton Boxes and the Green Commute initiative, which aims to encourage more people to cycle to-and-from work.

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