WELCOME WALK AND BIKE RIDE TO CELEBRATE CLEANER AIR!
PRESS RELEASE: for immediate release
Date/Time: 10am Saturday 28 January 2023 (gather from 9.30)
Start position: 3 figures sculpture, University of Northumbria Faculty of Business and Law, Shieldfield, NE2 1XA
Walkers and cyclists are looking forward to good weather for their tour of the boundaries of Newcastle’s new Clean Air Zone to celebrate its arrival. The event takes place the weekend before the zone comes into force, introducing tolls to encourage drivers of buses, HGVs and taxis to upgrade to cleaner engines.
Climate Action Newcastle and the Ride For Their Lives cycle campaign say the changes to tackle dangerous air pollution are long overdue and vital to improving the health of local people, as well as reducing the carbon emissions causing climate breakdown.
Climate Action Newcastle co-ordinator Jacky Doran said the events are the start of a year-long Cleaner Air campaign for measures to reduce the quantity of carbon emissions going into the air around Newcastle. “Our members are keen to encourage alternatives to reduce vehicle pollution, such as support for active travel, public transport, the switch to electric vehicles and the rollout of School Streets. We’ve been especially appalled at how often we see vehicle engines idling, pumping out emissions close to pedestrians – it’s illegal as well as unforgivable to harm people of all ages when it’s so easy to turn engines off.”
Ride For Their Lives organiser Heather Lambert, a retired Newcastle paediatrician, said that rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases are rising. Over 30,000 people die prematurely each year in the UK because of poor air quality. Local people, especially children, deserve the right to breathe clean air. “We know solutions to the climate crisis include reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and that bicycles, along with walking and other forms of active travel, are part of the solution. That is why I and other Newcastle doctors, health workers and supporters are celebrating the introduction of a Clean Air Zone.”
Northumbria University’s Professor of Air Quality, Anil Namdeo, said: “The Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone will play a vital role in improving the health of citizens.” Sustainability Manager Dr Paul Steadman added: “Northumbria University is happy to be the starting location for those who plan to embark on symbolic walking and cycling trips to commemorate the launch of the Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone. Our research is supporting the response to some of the biggest challenges facing the world today, including the fight against climate change.”
Information about both events including how to take part is available on Climate Action Newcastle’s website, and on CAN’s social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook)
NOTE TO NEWSDESKS:
• Photographers/reporters/video operators invited to attend Welcome Walk start – please arrive by 9.40 to complete interviews before the 10am start
- Climate Action Newcastle : https://www.climateactionnewcastle.com/
- Ride For Their Lives : https://ridefortheirlives.net/
For further information, please contact
- Jacky Doran, Co-ordinator, Climate Action Newcastle: firstname.lastname@example.org. 07798747798
- Heather Lambert, Co-ordinator, Ride for Their Lives: email@example.com
Message of support from Northumbria University (more messages can be seen on Climate Action Newcastle website)
Anil Namdeo, Professor of Air Quality Management, Northumbria University.
“There is already enough evidence to link exposure to air pollution with adverse health effects. Air pollution has been linked with asthma, coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, COPD, diabetes and dementia. Its effects are worse for vulnerable people including children, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Any improvement in air quality in an area will bring about significant public health benefits to the sensitive populations. Thus, the Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone will play a vital role in improving the health of citizens.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Paul Steadman, Sustainability Manager, Northumbria University.
“Northumbria University is happy to be the starting location for those who plan to embark on symbolic walking and cycling trips on 28th January to commemorate the launch of the Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone. At Northumbria we are committed to sustainability and proactively aim to minimise the impact our activities have on the environment. Our research is supporting the response to some of the biggest challenges facing the world today, including the fight against climate change.”
• UN COP27 warnings: Ahead of the annual international COP27 gathering to agree ways to tackle temperature rises, the latest United Nations report said that lack of adequate change is leading to a “fast track” to disaster. Scientists warned that it’s “now or never” to keep temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, because carbon emissions are still on the increase.
A flagship UN report on climate change indicated that harmful carbon emissions from 2010-2019 have never been higher in human history, proof that the world is on a “fast track” to disaster, António Guterres warned, with scientists arguing that it’s ‘now or never’ to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees