Clean Air Day 2022

Date: 15 June 2022
Author: Becky Howarth
Title: Transport Strategy Programme Co-ordinator

This week across the UK a spotlight is being shone on 'Clean Air'. Causing 36,000 deaths each year and impacting every organ in our body, the argument for acting on air pollution is compelling and it is working - 82% of people now think that air pollution should be a priority in the UK.

In Richmond, activities are taking place in schools and council officers are hosting a pop up outside Richmond Station to help residents understand and act on air pollution – there will be a DrBike service, street entertainers, cargo bike taxi service and an information stand.

But what does the mission of achieving clean air look like? What will Richmond borough look like when we one day exclaim “Mission achieved!”? What I find exciting as a transport planner is that although we have some idea, the final solution is still emerging and there’s spectacular scope for people to get involved. Like how when Kennedy announced the mission to put man on the moon, there is no pre-made silver bullet for clean air. It requires a cross-society effort of raising awareness to get people behind the mission; plenty of innovative thinking; a willingness to experiment, test and tweak solutions; and space and support for new skills to develop and be applied.

In Richmond, some of the partnerships and solutions that have emerged are fairly predictable - the council’s Engineers, Transport Strategy, Air Quality and Public Health teams are all actively working on the mission, e.g. to apply new technology to monitor air quality and install infrastructure to enable zero emission travel. And as the side benefits emerge from these solutions an even wider pool of partners are being attracted to the mission of clean air and with that comes the exciting possibility of exponential innovation. For instance, local businesses are increasingly capitalising on the economic opportunities that come from using the zero emission travel methods being developed, and themselves are developing with new ways of working.

Some businesses are developing new ways of doing logistics by giving the council’s new community cargo bike scheme a go to reduce journey time compared to a white van, improve customer image and lower costs. Some businesses are installing charge points in car parks to attract customers. Others providing changing facilities for employees wanting to cycle into work, perhaps with the aid of the council’s Try Before You Bike Scheme. Schools, community groups, local enterprises and tech companies are similarly picking up the opportunities that are arising from the clean air mission and helping to shape Richmond’s clean air solution.

So this Clean Air Day I invite you to get onboard with the clean air mission. What does clean air mean for you whether your home life, workplace or community space? Are there tools and solutions already out there which you can have a go at applying? We all have a part to play so please think of how you travel this Clean Air Day.

Want some ideas to get started?

Here are solutions we know help to improve air quality:

  • Use public transport
  • Have a go at walking, cycling or scooting for local journeys. Follow the links for information to help get you started.
  • Look into the option of a car club as an alternative to owning a private car
  • Switch off your engine when you’re not moving. Engine idling increases local air pollution and is a particular issue in our town centres, at level crossings and outside schools
  • Think green for deliveries. Use a collection point rather than home delivery service and choose the green option when available, so your delivery is made by a vehicle already in your area
  • Read about electric vehicle charge point options in the borough to help you consider the switch to electric vehicle


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Updated: 30 August 2022