Campaign for healthy air

Campaigners call for compensation for health effects of air pollution Local campaigners have created a ‘Delay Repay’ form for Leicester residents to ask politicians how they intend to compensate them for the diseases caused by the delays in controlling air pollution. They are aiming to encourage local people to put pressure on the city council and the government to take far more urgent action. Public Health England estimates that 250 people die prematurely ever year in Leicester as a result of air pollution. The City Council’s Air Quality Action Plan acknowledges that air quality standards will not be met until a low emission zone is established for all vehicles but they do not plan to do this for 10 years. The government have also acknowledged that the Midland Main Line should be electrified to reduce pollution in the cities along the route but they are not planning to complete this project until 2023. Healthy Air Leicester and Leicestershire believes that we should not have to wait that long for clean air. The form will be made available at the bus and train stations on the morning of 30th September. Campaigners will also be distributing them outside the railway station from 2:30 pm on 1st October. The form gives people the opportunity to say whether they, or someone in their family, is affected by asthma, lung disease, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or diabetes, all of which are known to be linked with air pollution. Mel Gould from Healthy Air Leicester and Leicestershire said: “While we are aware that the council is supportive of a low emissions zone in the future, we believe that there are further actions they could be taking now to move towards it. This could be as simple as publicly discussing it as something that is on the cards to encourage people to consider alternative ways of travelling into the city and encourage people who are buying a car to choose a low or zero emission vehicle. A public conversation about the low emission zone would encourage bus and taxi companies to electrify or hybridise their fleets with greater urgency. The council also need to make sure that their car parking policy fits with their aim of reducing air pollution.”