On 8 October, Clean Air Day will see schools, hospitals, workplaces and communities across Wales and the UK run events to inspire people to take simple steps to protect their health, and their families’ health, from air pollution.

As an organisation, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is committed to reducing its carbon foot print and have pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030. That’s why we’re supporting Clean Air Day on Thursday 8th October and we are encouraging residents to join us by, leaving their cars at home where possible – walk to school, shop local and go out and explore the beautiful outdoors in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The Council is continuing to demonstrate its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and will shortly consider how to utilise surplus energy from key sites to create wind and solar power facilities to build a green circular economy - the estimated reduction in annual carbon output would exceed 25,700 tonnes. 

The Council has also made plans to reduce its single use plastic usage across Council run sites and schools and is continuing to encourage procurement within the local economy. Future plans also include the investigation of investing in an electric vehicle fleet and ensuring that the draft Local Development Plan, considers its carbon impact and includes encouraging developers to utilise sustainable designs and installing charging stations. The Council has an Air Pollution Action Plan and is making a number of adjustments across the County Borough to improve overall air quality where possible. There is also a biodiversity action plan which looks to ensure that open spaces are better utilised to encourage their natural inhabitants to flourish.

Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK and is a public health priority for Wales. Everybody can have a positive impact on air quality and the Council would like to encourage its staff and residents to understand what they can do to reduce air pollution and limit its impact on their health and that of others.

The good news is that our air pollution crisis is solvable and there are simple steps we can all take to help us cut down on the pollution we emit – it's good for us and good for the planet too. The Council is asking residents to take the time to stop and think about their daily tasks; put on a jumper instead of turning up the heating, recycle one extra item, if you have to use your car, limit the amount of journeys you make and turn off the engine when stopped, walk to school or use your bike wherever possible.

During the COVID-19 national lockdown we experienced cleaner air and saw massive shifts in low pollution behaviours. RCT residents are once again being asked to continue to work from home and stay local wherever possible, due to local restrictions. Perhaps clean air is one positive outcome that we can all enjoy from an unprecedented and difficult situation.  Together we can build on the positives of the situation to create a new normal with clean air by continuing to integrate these positive changes after the pandemic and keep healthy – more tips can be found by visiting www.cleanairday.org.uk

Climate Change Champion and Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Wellbeing and Cultural Services, Councillor Rhys Lewis, said: “I am delighted that the Council is supporting Clean Air Day - it’s a national day of action to raise awareness about the dangers of toxic air and how we can all contribute to reducing pollution. I think it’s so important to know about the damage that pollution causes, so I’d urge everyone to stop and think about what they can do to help improve air quality and reduce the harm from pollution. We’re lucky to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country - let’s keep it that way by working together to care for our environment.”

8 October is a day of practical action and awareness-raising, so we can all breathe cleaner air. Clean Air Day gives every school, hospital, workplace and housing estate free access to cutting-edge advice on avoiding and tackling urban air pollution, approved by health experts and academics.

All the information on how to get involved in Clean Air Day is available from the Clean Air Day website www.cleanairday.org.uk
Posted on Thursday 8th October 2020

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