Air quality has a massive impact on us all. Here in south Leeds, we experience particularly high levels of air pollution – and suffer the consequences.
In the Hunslet & Riverside council ward, rates of respiratory (breathing) illness are higher than anywhere in Leeds – and Beeston & Holbeck and Middleton Park wards aren’t far behind. It is also undoubtedly a factor in the life expectancy of residents of south Leeds: here in the south, we live on average 10+ years less than people in far north Leeds.
A wide range of local people are therefore coming together, to take action, and make things better. Our story so far…
In November 2018, we delivered a deputation (speech) to the full Leeds City Council, challenging them to include us in the Clean Air Zone for the city – and we’ve remained in contact with them since. As it stands, we are still set to be excluded, but we will continue to hold the Council to account, and battle for a fair deal. Full info at https://southleedslife.com/campaigners-call-on-council-to-extend-clean-air-zone-to-south-leeds/.
Since early 2019, we are now running a ‘Plants for People’ project to get air-cleansing plants into as many school classrooms locally as possible. Full info at https://southleedslife.com/plants-for-the-people/. We are also looking to develop a wider programme of activities with schools, including workshops, a campaign to stop parents and others idling (ie leaving their car engines running) outside schools, and seeing plants grown in schools distributed for free amongst the homes and families of pupils.
We are looking to establish independent locally-led air monitoring, via groups like the Foundation for Digital Creativity and Leeds University. More info at https://www.digitalcreativity.foundation/blog/building-community-network-air-quality-sensors-apply-now.
We are keen on working with local residents groups on tree planting projects, especially near main roads – and also street closure events.
We will be pushing for government bodies including the Environment Agency to better hold industry to account locally, for example on the dodgy and too frequent tyre fires in our community (pictured, above).
Some of our team were involved in the campaign against the Park and Ride in Stourton – which might sound like a great thing, but looks likely to result simply in air pollution being displaced from the city centre into Hunslet and Belle Isle. However, the scheme is due to be built later in 2019. Further info at https://southleedslife.com/stourton-park-ride-given-the-green-light-by-councilors/.