City comes together to pledge support to improve air quality

The people of Leeds came out in force to pledge their support to improve air quality in the city as part of the UK’s first ever National Clean Air Day.

Over 800 people pledged to walk, cycle or look to use more sustainable modes of travel as part of the day of action yesterday (15 June 2017).

The future generations of the city also got on board and showed their support through a number of initiatives including a park and stride at Kirkstall Valley Primary School and live air quality monitoring at Shire Oaks School.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, deputy leader and Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for sustainability and the environment said:

“It is fantastic to see the response from the people of Leeds to the UK’s first ever National Clean Air Day.

“Improving the quality of air for our city is a big task, and it is not something the council can do alone.

“We are keen to hear from people and businesses across the city as to how we go about doing this, but as a starting point I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that supported the day yesterday.

“We will continue with this momentum and support going forward and ensure air quality is top of the agenda and ensure we do what we can to reduce levels of pollution in our fantastic city.”

Leeds City Council is fully committed to reducing levels of pollution in the city and is already progressing a number of projects and initiatives as part of its Air Quality Strategy, including increasing the number of electric vehicles in the council’s own fleet to over 50 vehicles, offering a free parking permit to those driving Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles and encouraging greater use of public transport, with major investments in bus and rail infrastructure to be delivered in the future.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said

“West Yorkshire Combined Authority is in full support of Clean Air Day and other initiatives that will help to improve air quality in the region. To improve quality of life for local Leeds people and for those who chose to visit, we must work together. We will continue to encourage people to cycle, walk, and catch the bus or train to work or school.

“Travel planning support to businesses, improving transport services, free cycle training and building high quality cycling and walking infrastructure are just a sample of the work being done by West Yorkshire Combined Authority to help reach the goal of Leeds being a clean air zone by 2020.”

The council, working with partners across the city is also encouraging alternatives to car use, including the recent opening of the Temple Green Park and Ride site and the successful Elland Road Park and Ride site. Phase one of a new Cycle Superhighway through the city is now open and plans for phase two are being developed. This has been funded through £40m from the Department for Transport along with £14.3 from West Yorkshire Combined Authority and £440,000 from various public health grants.

Notes to editors;

National Clean Air Day

The first ever National Clean Air Day aims to create a groundswell of action bringing thousands of people together to make UK cities cleaner, healthier and greener.

National Clean Air Day will highlight what we can all do to protect ourselves and our children, and reduce local pollution levels. The day will also capture the voices of people living all over the UK, from all walks of life, sharing their concerns about pollution and their hopes for swift progress in cleaning up our air.

The campaign pull together events in the following cities; with action taking place in Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton, Leeds, Derby, Nottingham, London, and Scotland; while all UK cities will benefit from the free guides and toolkits available. This includes events at school gates, hospitals, and shopping centres.


Let's clear a few things up


Cyclists and pedestrians are exposed to more air pollution than drivers


Wrong. As well as being better for your health and fitness, evidence shows that cyclists and pedestrians are also less exposed to air pollution than people in vehicles. This is because your air filter probably doesn’t remove pollution from the air it circulates and being on the road itself means that your vehicles is surrounded by exhaust fumes. Pedestrians and cyclists are also less exposed because even 1 metre away from traffic, there is considerably less pollution than on the road itself.


Turning your engine on and off again whilst sat in traffic releases more emissions than leaving it running.


Whether you’re stuck in traffic or just waiting to pick someone up, if you think that your car might be stationary for more than 2 minutes it’s better to turn your engine off than leave it running. Doing so will reduce the amount of gases harmful to our health and the environment that your car emits. It’s an easy way to reduce your own contribution to air pollution!


All the latest from Clean Air Leeds

We know we need to improve air quality in the city and are committed to doing our bit to make a difference.

What we are doing