XR Bristol’s statement on clean air zone delays: this is a public health emergency

COVID-19 has shown us that clean air zones are necessary to support our NHS, and to secure a safe and healthy planet for present and future generations. We are in the midst of a global pandemic and we must be led by the science, which tells us that air pollution is making COVID-19 more deadly.

On Friday 24th April, Bristol City Council’s Overview and Management Board met to discuss and receive information on the local impact of the pandemic. The latest report on Bristol’s Clean Air Zone proposals was also on the agenda. This included data on the most recent air pollution levels across the city.

Given local media reports regarding possible delays in implementing the Clean Air Zone, XR Bristol submitted a statement urging not to delay, but to go further and expand it.

The statement references research linking air pollution and greater susceptibility to COVID-19 infection. It also references Milan, which has just announced no return to ‘business as usual’ – they will hand over 35km of streets to pedestrians and cyclists for good to improve health and wellbeing.

“Having experienced the worst public health crisis in living memory we cannot go back to business as usual. There is no conflict between rebuilding Bristol’s economy in line with the Green New Deal and the One City Climate Strategy, and reducing air pollution, improving public health and protecting vulnerable and low income households. It is not one thing or the other.

“So we urge Bristol City Council to recognise that air pollution needs the same approach as COVID-19 and not only implement the Clean Air Zone as was originally promised, but to go further and expand it, for the wellbeing of Bristol residents and of our planet.”

A  report on the outcomes of the meeting will be prepared and go to Bristol Cabinet.

Read the full statement here

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