Mary Page: Clean Air delays "a matter of life and death"

Responding to the Bristol Cabinet Clean Air plan proposals, Mary Page, Bristol Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate, said:

“The Mayor’s inaction on a clean air zone is killing 300 Bristolians every year, so it is to be welcomed that, finally, two Clean Air Zone options will be going out for public consultation. Neither option, however, is due to have much impact for at least 5 years which is 1500 more Bristolians could die from the very air they breathe. That could be you, me or someone you know. The sad truth is it is likely to be the most vulnerable the very young, the sick or elderly so this has to be a priority action for any Mayor of Bristol."

"We have the National Clean Air Action Day coming up on 20th June and I hope everyone in Bristol will study the Cabinet papers closely as it really is a matter of life and death. The plans include nearly 50 pages so I'm sure the Bristol Clean Air Alliance campaigners will be analysing the details."

“As a personal commitment to being part of the solution, I’ve just got an electric bike, and when I worked out how much I’ve been spending on car-parking, fuel and wear and tear, it will pay for itself over a relatively short time. The whole Liberal Democrat team is also committing to reducing our emissions and supporting sustainable transport.”

“But a bigger challenge is the air quality that we are now breathing in. That is definitely not an incentive to using bikes or walking in the city centre so there may be some quick win actions that can make a big difference to help with that. We should also look at greening the city in the true sense, by using modern plant walls in public spaces, new buildings and office spaces to soak up and clean the air we breathe. It is a well-established policy of using trees, mosses, and other plant curtains to give both a pleasant and attractive look and act to filter the particulates and toxins. It worked to help get rid of pea-souper smogs in the past and whilst we figure out how to tackle the actions of the worst polluters elsewhere, there’s no harm in recycling a great idea to use again. There are also modern technology filter screens that can be fitted in high-risk areas such as windows of primary schools and hospitals.”

"Once I've analysed the detailed plan I'm sure there may be opportunities to look at bike, electric bike and car hire options to expand on the existing commercial networks. We should also be looking at enabling pay-as-you-go matched funding finance options, with every hire counting to a part-payment of owning your own sustainable transport. As well as using West of England Transport funds to pay for vehicle exchange, refurbishment or in worst case scrappage options."

“Ultimately, Liberal Democrats believe that it’s right the polluter pays. So it is to be welcomed that the plan looks at banning the worst vehicle emissions but it is also right that that has to be done in a way that doesn’t allow the rich to just pay to pollute the air we breathe. It's also no excuse to do nothing because the poorest continue to be the most affected by breathing the toxic fumes where they live. Financial measures to support the less well off need to be considered as I realise that changing habits is really tough for individuals but we shouldn't be allowing our citizens to die by being too scared to take action."

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