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World Environmental Health Day

World Environmental Health Day

12:01am 26th September 2011

City of York Council's Environmental Protection Unit (EPU) is marking World Environmental Health Day this month by raising awareness of the team's commitment to reducing harmful emissions in York.

The theme of this year's World Environmental Health Day is air quality and is an ideal opportunity to highlight the work being carried in York to monitor air quality, cut air pollution and provide the public with advice.

Cllr Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for City Strategy, said:

"World Environment Day is an excellent way to raise awareness of the council's committment to reducing emissions and improving air quality across York. We are currently developing a Low Emission Strategy (LES), which aims to reduce vehicle emissions and encourage the wider uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles across the city."

The council was recently awarded £68,500 in funding (August 2011) by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to help improve air quality in York.

Funding will be used to finance a Low Emission Zone feasibility study for the city centre and to establish a fleet recognition scheme to help reduce vehicle emissions. Funding will also be used to encourage the wider uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles.  

There will also be further work linked to these schemes, in partnership with the Institute of Transport Studies at Leeds University, to measure exhaust emissions from vehicles.

This research will be funded through last year's DEFRA funding and will assist in drawing up emissions profiles for different types and ages of vehicles. Information and data could then be used to decide which vehicles may be excluded from a Low Emission Zone in the future.

Mike Southcombe, the council's Environmental Protection Manager, said:

"The recent funding from DEFRA will allow EPU to progress two projects critical to York's emerging Low Emission Strategy. This will set out the long term strategy for reducing emissions and improving air quality in York.

"The Low Emission Strategy aims to transform York into a nationally acclaimed low emission city, where local residents and businesses are aware of their impact on the environment and play an active role in reducing all emissions".

The Environmental Protection Unit's dedicated air quality website (JorAir) was recently ranked as the second best local authority air quality website (August 2011).

The website has been used to teach school children about the cause and consequence of poor air quality.

Further advice on how to protect air quality will be given out via the council's Twitter feed on World Environmental Health Day: http://twitter.com/CityofYork/

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