New campaign launched to clean Cheltenham's air


  • Clean Air Cheltenham aims to cut pollution in the town.
  • The group will work with local people and councils to influence decision makers.
  • Launch follows report showing air poor quality around schools.

A new campaign has been launched by two local councillors who want to clean up Cheltenham's air.

Max Wilkinson and Iain Dobie are behind the initiative which aims to improve public health in the town.

The pair are asking people to get involved by learning more about the issue and helping to shape the debate.

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Max, who represents Park ward on the borough council, said: "Cheltenham has a problem with air quality, partly because of its location but also because of the way we do things.

“For example, there are too many short car journeys which could be made on foot or by bike.

"Pollution is harmful to children, people with underlying health problems and older people too - it harms the most vulnerable.

"We all have a responsibility to act to ensure we are doing all we can to improve air quality and making our environment more pleasant.”

  • The campaign launch comes after a new monitoring report for Gloucestershire County Council showed that air quality in the town is unacceptably low.

The scheme, which focused on schools but also measured air quality elsewhere, recommended that the county council focus on lowering harmful NO2 emissions.

Some of the readings at schools approached national safety limits, leaving children at risk of lung damage if exposed over time.

Iain, the county councillor for Leckhampton and Warden Hill, said: “A recent report by the Royal College of Physicians estimates that 40,000 people die prematurely every year in this country due to air pollution.

“A large proportion of those early deaths are down to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), with vehicle exhaust emissions - notably from diesels - being the main source in towns and cities.

“Children are particularly vulnerable and can suffer respiratory symptoms well below maximum limits.

“I believe Cheltenham Borough and Gloucestershire County Councils should work together with the people of our town on actions to improve the quality of the air we all breathe."

  • The entire borough of Cheltenham is designated as an Air Quality Management Area in 2011.

While the borough council is responsible for monitoring, the county council is responsible for matters relating to transport, which has the biggest impact on air quality.

An initial meeting to agree the group's key goals, strategy and terms of reference will be held during the summer.

Anyone wishing to get involved in the campaign should email: cleanairchelt@gmail.com


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