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Air Quality Survey - Frequently asked Questions

What is this survey for and what is it aiming to achieve?

Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council have launched an online survey to seek people’s views on local air pollution. This will enable the councils to understand the support the community would like from the councils, to protect the health of people in those districts. The councils want to engage with residents, schools, businesses and community groups to find out how air quality affects them and measure awareness of the simple actions that can help improve air quality.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council have been instructed by the Government to develop a plan which assesses a range of measures to reduce pollution – against the benchmark of a Clean Air Zone – in the shortest possible time.

Within the measures, the councils are exploring the introduction of bus retrofit schemes. This is in addition to strategies for raising awareness of air pollution and increasing awareness of actions that individuals can take. These could include reducing private car use, and using more sustainable and active ways of travelling.

What will happen as a result of the survey?

The survey information will enable the councils to better understand local opinion and be used to inform our strategy development and action for local air quality. The insight provided through the survey will also help us to better engage residents in the air quality conversation.

Who is commissioning this survey?

The survey has been commissioned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council.

Who are the partners involved in this project?

M·E·L Research is an independent social research company which is carrying out an air quality survey in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council.

Global Action Plan (GAP) is a sustainability charity, whose UK team is part of the international GAP network. GAP is supporting Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council on promotion and digital engagement of the survey, to raise awareness and encourage local participation.

Ricardo Energy & Environment is a sustainability consultancy specialising in providing policy support and marketing communications expertise in the fields of transport, energy, and environment. Ricardo is advising Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council on strategy development for delivery of the survey communications.

Can you guarantee that my answers will be anonymous?

Information provided will only be used for research purposes and individuals will not be identifiable in any analysis or reports. Work will be carried out in line with the code of conduct of the Market Research Society. All information will be held securely and strictly in line with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

For more information about M·E·L Research and how it will use the information provided (including privacy rights and the right to withdraw consent at any time), please read its privacy policy at M·E·L Research privacy policy

CAZ related questions

What is a Clean Air Zone / How do Clean Air Zones work?

A Clean Air Zone is a specific location where immediate action is taken locally to improve air quality and health. It aims to reduce public exposure to all sources of pollution, including nitrogen dioxide, by enforcing restrictions and encouraging cleaner vehicles.

Why are you considering a Clean Air Zone for Stoke-on-Trent/Newcastle-under-Lyme?

The Government has set a legal level for air quality in certain cities around the UK.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council have been instructed by the Government to develop a plan which assesses a range of measures to reduce pollution – against the benchmark of a Clean Air Zone – in the shortest possible time.

To meet this requirement, the councils are considering a range of measures to reduce pollution in the region.

What are the potential measures which the councils are considering?

Against the benchmark of a Clean Air Zone, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council are exploring the introduction of bus retrofit schemes and other highway changes.

This is in addition to strategies for raising awareness of air pollution and increasing awareness of actions that individuals can take. These could include reducing private car use, and using more sustainable and active ways of travelling.

Will the Stoke/Newcastle CAZ include a charging zone?

Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council are exploring a range of measures to reduce pollution against the benchmark of a Clean Air Zone. The CAZ benchmark does involve consideration of possible charging restrictions for higher polluting vehicles to enter a defined area. However, this is merely being considered as a ‘worst case scenario’ benchmark – if alternative non-charging measures are unable to deliver the reduction in air pollution needed to meet government requirements.

Pollution focused questions

Are there dangerous levels of pollution where I live?

Air quality is a problem all over the country. In Staffordshire, we have pockets of areas where the air quality exceeds European standards on air quality. In Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme, the councils are exploring a range of measures to reduce pollution and protect the health and wellbeing of residents.

What are the sources of air pollution in the area?

In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, the main contributor to poor air quality is from the emissions produced by transport. The two most harmful are detailed below.

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

The most harmful of the oxides produced from vehicle emissions to human health. It can affect our lungs, and breathing, and is very bad for people with asthma and other medical conditions.

Fine Particulates (PM)

Microscopic particles that float around in the atmosphere, they are produced from burning fossil fuels and from braking and tyre wear. Diesel vehicles emit the most PM. In regard to vehicle emissions we have PM 2.5 and PM10. PM 2.5 that are so small they can get into the blood stream and lungs. PM 2.5 is roughly 30 times smaller than a human hair.

You can check out the air quality in your area by visiting the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair's interactive map and inputting your post code.

Where can I find out about levels of air pollution in my area?

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), have a UK air pollution forecast map where you can see the latest air pollution levels for your area on a map. You can also search by town or postcode to see more local information.

I’m worried about the impact of air pollution on my health, where can I go for more information?

Air pollution affects your body in lots of ways. It can increase the risk of some health problems, and can make existing health problems worse. More information can be found at www.cleanairhub.org.uk

What actions can I take to reduce the pollution I expose my family to?

Out and about: Transport is a major source of pollution and changing how we travel can reduce how much pollution we create, and how much pollution we breathe in. When you travel actively such as walking, cycling or even scooting you are breathing cleaner air, not producing pollution, and living a healthier lifestyle. (Studies show you can breathe in twice the amount of pollution inside a vehicle as opposed to outside).

Traveling sustainably such as car sharing or getting the bus or train will reduce pollution from vehicles and can make a big difference.

Electric vehicles have the potential to run without emitting the harmful emissions produced by fossil fuels and therefore using an electric vehicle helps with reducing pollution.

At home: Be careful what you burn, keep your kitchen smoke free, regularly service your boilers and open windows.

For more details visit www.cleanairhub.org.uk

How can I reduce my own contribution to air pollution?

Even small reductions in air pollution could help us to avoid new cases of disease. Here are our top 3 actions:

  • Walk and cycle more, especially using the back streets away from polluting traffic.
  • Avoid unnecessary burning, and use ready to burn materials if you do rely on wood for your heating.
  • If you do have to drive, switch your engine off when you're stationary, and try to choose electric vehicles where you can.

For more ideas visit www.cleanairhub.org.uk

Community focused questions

What else are the council doing about air pollution?

This survey is part of a wider range of measures Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council are considering to reduce air pollution. Within the measures, the councils are exploring the introduction of bus retrofit schemes. This is in addition to strategies for raising awareness of air pollution and increasing awareness of actions that individuals can take. These could include reducing private car use, and using more sustainable and active ways of travelling.

In addition to the range of measures the councils are considering, it is still equally important to remember that air quality is everyone’s responsibility and doing one small thing to travel differently one day a week can make a difference.

Most journeys in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are less than five miles, so there’s a brilliant opportunity for people to try a different way to travel.

How will you support residents, schools, businesses and community groups in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme to reduce their risk of exposure to air pollution?

Your responses to the survey will enable the councils to better understand local opinion and be used to inform our strategy development and action for local air quality. The insight provided through the survey will also help us to better engage residents in the air quality conversation.

I have more I’d like to say, where can I voice these opinions?

Please contact customer services with any issues you would like to raise or questions you might have.

 


Last updated 25 February 2020

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