During the election campaign earlier this year, I initiated a very successful petition aimed at improving air pollution in our area, and Bristol as a whole. You may remember that the petition called for:
- A Clean Air Zone in the centre of the city.
- Improved provision for emission monitoring, including a monitoring station along Gloucester Road.
- Proper enforcement of the law on idling.
- Campaigns for better public awareness on air pollution’s causes and how individuals can help.
- An alert system for high pollution levels.
- Opposition to dirty energy.
We’re only seven months in to the new Labour city administration’s term, but much from that list has been achieved, and more. For instance, the dirty energy proposals in Lawrence Hill were denied by a committee of Councillors. Also, working with our colleagues in the Green Party, we have passed a motion supporting clean air for Bristol, which reinforces what we wanted to achieve in both the petition and Labour’s manifesto. This includes:
- Implementation of a Clean Air Zone in the city centre as soon as government allows us to, and to lobby government to allow us to.
- Improvement of public awareness regarding air pollution.
Furthermore, the Labour city administration has promised to:
- Review the location of neighbourhood air pollution monitors and make data collected more accessible. This will help us to achieve our aim of a monitoring station on Gloucester Road, and will allow implementation of an alert system.
- Replace the Council’s fleet with low emission and electric powered vans and cars when appropriate.
- Support the introduction of hybrid and electric buses with low emission levels. This should include geofencing technology (where the diesel engine is switched off in polluted areas), as used on the new hybrid buses on the number 72 route in our area.
In addition to this, I think there are some other areas we can improve, such as more electric vehicle charging points and allowing electric vehicles to use bus lanes. We should also promote freight consolidation more, using the Council’s freight consolidation centre in Avonmouth. On top of that, I’m also looking at ways we can enforce the anti-idling legislation, the final item called for in the petition.
Overall, for just over half a year’s progress I think we’re making great headway in improving air quality in the city. Whilst there is much to do, I am very hopeful for the future progress we’ll make.