Protecting me and others from Poor Air Quality

 

Like many parts of the UK, poor air quality in Worcestershire is linked to areas with high volumes of traffic, congestion and ‘street canyon’ landscapes (where height of buildings is greater than width of road). The Worcestershire Local Authorities, at District and County level, and central government implement strategic actions to tackle poor air quality in our towns and cities. However, all of us making a journey by car, bus, train, van or lorry in Worcestershire impact on local air quality and there are many things individuals, business and schools can do to help reduce sources of poor air quality and the impacts of poor air quality on the community. This page provides advice on how you can help to reduce poor air quality and how you can avoid the impacts of air pollution on yours, your family’s, and your pupil's or employee's health.

Know where the areas of local poor air quality are
 
•    Click this link for information on declared Air Quality Management Areas in Worcestershire.
•    Levels of air pollution are generally higher during rush hours and close to busy roads.
•    Use online street maps to plan your journey(s) to avoid routes via AQMA’s and other busy roads as much as possible.
•    Avoid journeying or exercising through these areas if possible, particularly at peak traffic times.

Keep informed

•    see ‘Advice for vulnerable individuals and groups’ below


Walk or cycle, leave you car at home.

•    Leaving your car at home and walking or cycling instead will benefit in three ways - increased exercise, reduced pollution exposure and you will reduce your pollution emissions.
•    Air pollution concentrations are highest near the source and recede dramatically as you move further away from the road. People can be exposed to more pollution when travelling inside a vehicle than you would be walking or cycling on the same road1.
•    There is evidence that avoiding busy roads as you walk or cycle, taking routes along quieter back roads, can reduce the amount of pollution you breathe by up to 70%1.
•    If possible, avoid cycling during the busiest times of day, particularly the morning rush hour when pollution levels tend to be highest.
•    Avoid stopping and waiting behind lorries and other large diesel vehicles while at junctions or in queuing traffic
•    If you have to drive, close windows and vents when driving along busy roads or sitting in queuing traffic
•    Need help with planning a route? Click here Worcestershire County Council Cycle routes


Some of the information above was sourced from:

http://www.breathelondon.org/1


Domestic Burning

Open fires and wood-burning stoves have risen in popularity over recent years. Smoke from burning causes air pollution. Defra have produced a series of guides to raise awareness of actions that householders can take to reduce their impact on their health and air quality from open fires and wood burning stoves. These include advice on choosing the right stove, using the right fuels and maintenance. Further information is available below in ' How can I reduce my impact on local air quality as an individual?' and on the Smokeless Zones pages

Air pollution can affect all of us over our lifetime however certain groups will be more sensitive to the effects of air pollution. Vulnerable groups include adults and children with lung or heart conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)1,2. Senior citizens are more likely to be affected by respiratory diseases and children are more likely to be affected by air pollution due to relatively higher breathing and metabolic rates as well as a developing lung and immune system.

 

If you are sensitive to the effects of air pollution, it may be appropriate to limit the length of time spent in areas of local poor air quality2 – see Advice on how to amend your activities during periods of elevated pollution.

 

Follow the links below for further information for Adults and Children with lung or heart conditions:

 

 

Vulnerable individuals and groups can keep informed of

 

 

Some of the information above was sourced from:

Travelling

•    Worcestershire County Council’s Local Transport Plan 4 indicates that ‘car usage, particularly for shorter trips of up to 3 miles, is at the highest it has ever been in our history (Census 2011). One of the key opportunities to tackle congestion is to encourage use of other modes of transport (travel choice), particularly for these shorter trips.


•    Leaving your car at home and walking or cycling instead will benefit in three ways - increased exercise, reduced pollution exposure and you will reduce your pollution emissions.


•    Need help with planning a route? Click here Worcestershire County Council Cycle routes


•    If you have to drive, reduce emissions and fuel costs through adoption of Smarter Driving Techniques. See links below for more information:


Domestic Burning

•    Open fires and wood-burning stoves have risen in popularity over recent years. Smoke from burning causes air pollution.


•    Defra have produced a series of guides to raise awareness of actions that householders can take to reduce their impact on their health and air quality from open fires and wood burning stoves. These include advice on choosing the right stove, using the right fuels and maintenance. Further information is available on the Smokeless Zones pages.


•    Wood-burning stoves produce much less smoke than open fires. If you are thinking of buying a stove then consider purchasing one that has a Defra exemption permitting its use in smoke control areas, or an Ecodesign Ready stove.

Readytoburn


•    Wood can only be burned on exempted appliances and must be dry and ready to burn - look for the 'Ready to Burn' logo.        

 

•    Green or freshly felled logs are not suitable for burning in a domestic stove or open fire until they have been dried to 20% moisture content or less.


•    Do not burn treated waste wood (eg old furniture, pallets etc) or household rubbish. Treated waste wood and household rubbish can emit harmful fumes and toxic pollutants, such are arsenic, into your home when burnt.


•    Maintain and service your stove annually. This means it will work better and will generate more heat from what you burn.


Studies have shown that children are exposed to high concentrations of air pollutants at school gates due to the volume of cars arriving on the school run.

•   Encourage parents, or responsible carers, to adopt active modes of travel e.g. walking and cycling rather than using car for the school run particularly for short journeys.

•   Produce a travel to school guide advising parents of walking and cycling routes to your schools avoiding busy roads and areas of poor air quality – see Air Quality Management Areas in Worcestershire.

•   Discourage drivers from 'idling' engines running outside school gates



Travel Plan
Contact Worcestershire County Council for help and advice on a Travel Plan for your business

Active Travel
Encourage employees to adopt active modes of travel such as cycling and walking into a part, or all of their commute, particularly for short journeys under 3 miles. Exercise is key to maintaining health, reduces impacts on air quality and saves money on travel costs. Contact Worcestershire County Council to discuss personalised travel plans for your staff

Car Sharing
Encourage employees to commute via Car Sharing.  Worcestershire County Council have launched a county wide service Liftshare for people to take part in.

Flexible Working Arrangements
Provide facilities for non-front line staff to work remotely from home, or nearer home facilities, for one or more days a week thus removing any journey to work. This reduces congestion which has beneficial impacts for delivery times, reduced business costs and thus economic benefits. Additionally, flexible working provides social benefits through improved work life balance for employees, reduces local air pollution and reduces impacts on emergency vehicle response times.

Hold meetings by Conference Call
Conference call by phone or Skype rather than driving to meetings. This reduces fuel and other travel costs, vehicle maintenance and hire cost, increases productivity through reduction in hours lost through unnecessary travel.

Smarter Driving Tips
Encourage employees to drive smoothly, and reduce emissions and fuel costs through adoption of Smarter Driving Techniques. See links below for more information


Switch Fleet to Low Emission Vehicles

The government is providing £80m funding until 2020 to encourage installation of EV charging points. Eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations with off street parking for staff or vehicles fleets can apply for vouchers to redeem costs of electric vehicle charge-points. There is a limit of 1 voucher per applicant, however, applicants with a ‘franchise’ may apply for up to 20 franchisees. There is an approved charge points list and a list of authorised installers. More information is available via the following link:


Logistics Emission Reduction Scheme (LERS)

LERS is a free to join industry initiative which focuses on the recording, reporting and reducing of emissions from freight transport.

The scheme run by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is free to join and open to all companies who operate at least one commercial vehicle, HGV or van. LERS helps companies record and report their carbon emissions from their freight operations and demonstrates their green credentials.

Follow the link for more information about joining the Logistics Emission Reduction Scheme

Contact Us

General Customer Enquiries -
Please contact us on:
Email: enquiries@worcsregservices.gov.uk
Telephone: 01905 822799

Social Media

Follow us on Twitter: @RegServs

Address for Correspondence Only

Worcestershire Regulatory Services
Wyre Forest House
Finepoint Way
Kidderminster
Worcestershire
DY11 7WF