Mayor targets air quality improvement

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City centre bus. Pic by Owen Swift © JMU Journalism

Mayor Joe Anderson has urged the city council to investigate a series of measures to tackle air pollution by potentially introducing a ‘Clean Air Zone’ in the city centre.

Reports estimated that many thousands of deaths annually can be attributed to poor air quality and around 70% of harmful emissions of Nitrogen Dioxide, NO2, in particular can be linked to transport emissions.

In 2013, Liverpool was named one of the worst areas in the country for asthma sufferers, as charity Asthma UK reported a staggering rate of hospital admissions for the condition nationally, with Liverpool having the highest rates for children.

Mayor Anderson said: “To reverse this situation, Liverpool City Council will work with our expert partners locally and across the country to both look at the impacts of introducing a Clean Air zone.”

A low emission zone may be implemented which targets the restricting or banning of large and diesel vehicles in the city centre and areas where there are large numbers of diesel taxis and buses. This could limit or prohibit their movements to certain times of the day.

The mayor claimed that introducing these changes would stop older vehicles that have been banned in other cities being relocated to Liverpool.

Mayor Anderson said: “By 2025, I want the city to have developed a central heart where walking, cycling, electric vehicles and clean fuels will dominate, and from which polluting diesel traffic will be discouraged.”

Scott Wood, 23, a Liverpool-based lorry driver, told JMU Journalism: “It would be impossible to stop trucks coming into the city centre because stores need stocking up. Also, banning them would mean drivers would have to leave trucks unattended outside of the city centre, which isn’t safe because it’s more likely to get targeted by thieves.”

The proposed areas of improvement also include a commitment to encourage the use of electric vehicles for councillors and the public, and instruct Merseytravel to work with the City Mayor on a strategy that helps bus companies which operate within the city to move to low emission standards.

YouTube: Liverpool Green Party

About Sachi Kondo, JMU Journalism