Blue sky and white clouds

'Show the Air You Care'

Show the air you care

Tackling air pollution remains a top priority for Cheshire East because air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts. Short-term exposure to pollutants such as Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) can cause inflammation of the airways, exacerbate respiratory diseases such as asthma and is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. Additionally, air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable in society: children, the elderly, and those with existing heart and lung conditions.

Whilst air quality has improved significantly in recent decades and will likely continue to improve due to national policy decisions, newer car technology etc, it is important for the Council to continue to take steps to address air quality within the borough.

Everyone has a role to play in having a positive impact on air quality in Cheshire East – and the council wants to inspire everyone to take simple actions to help reduce air pollution and limit its impact on people’s health. Let's 'Show the Air You Care'.

Key questions

What is air quality?

Air quality tells us how healthy the air is to breathe. If the air quality is bad then it has more harmful things in it. Good air quality tells us that there is less pollution and it is better for us to breathe. 

What is air pollution?

The air that we breathe is made up many different gases. Some of which are natural and essential for life. Air pollutants can be released from natural sources such as volcanoes, but humans are responsible for a large proportion of the pollution in our air today.

What pollutes the air?

A lot of things that make our lives more comfortable such as cars, electricity and heating create pollutants but make the air dirty. Sometimes we cannot see air pollution but other times it can be seen in the form of smoke or dirt.

Why is it important to keep the air clean?

The release of air pollutants must be kept to a minimum, as some of the pollutants can be harmful, not only to us humans but to wildlife and our environment.

How does it affect me?

If you are sensitive to air pollution you might start to cough or find it difficult or painful to breathe when air pollution is high, especially if you are running around outside or playing sport. Some people might not be affected at all.

What can I do to help?

We could all help to reduce pollution from vehicles by using our cars less. Instead of using a car for short trips to school or to the shops, try to walk or ride a bike.By changing our behaviour and following the advice below, we can all make a positive impact on air quality.

Give your car the day off

  • Car drivers can be exposed to twice as much air pollution inside their car as pedestrians, so try cycling or walking when you can, especially for short journeys
  • Cycling and walking is also good for your mental health and fitness too
  • If you are not able to leave your car at home, try parking further away and walking some of your journey
  • Discover the side streets – use quieter streets to avoid polluted main roads
  • Cycling/walking the school run sets a good example to your children and provides you both with an opportunity to be active
Bicycle with a smile
Switch off your engine when stationary

Don't idle

  • Leaving your engine running when your vehicle is stationary is called idling
  • Vehicles idling while stationary cause unnecessary use of fuel, an increase in emissions, a noisy environment, especially for residents and businesses and is also an offence under the Road Traffic Act
  • In modern cars, idling actually increases wear and tear on the engine as it leads to incomplete fuel combustion and the build up of residues. Idling causes damage to cylinders and the exhaust system
  • By not idling, you reduce the level of harmful emissions being released into the atmosphere and help to make your local environment cleaner and safer for everyone

Go electric

  • There are lots of ways you can travel electric. Hire an electric car, taxi or test drive an electric vehicle
  • Thinking about changing your car - look for a more economical vehicle that can reduce the amount of money you spend on fuel and the amount of pollution you create
  • Consider a low-emission vehicle such as electric, plug-in hybrid or LPG. Technology is evolving all the time to make these vehicles an affordable option
  • If an electric vehicle is not an option, then consider using public transport. By using a bus or train you are reducing the number of cars on the road
Car with a smile

Watch what you burn

  • Only burn dry, well-seasoned wood or smokeless fuel on your stove, open fire or barbecue to reduce harmful air pollution
  • Maintaining your stove or open fire, sweeping your chimney regularly and using the right fuel can make a big difference to our air quality
  • Wood should be dry with a low moisture content to prevent causing unnecessary smoke. Using dry wood significantly reduces harmful emissions and it actually produces more heat
  • Smoke Control Areas are in existence in some areas of Crewe and Wilmslow, in order to control the types of fuel that can be burnt on heating appliances. The aim is to prevent air pollution that affects the environment and can have a serious impact on health
  • Only smokeless fuels (anthracite, semi-anthracite, electricity, gas and low volatile steam coal) can be burnt on heating appliances within Smoke Control Areas, unless the particular appliance has been approved by Defra

What can schools do

  • We have produced an education package for delivery in schools to raise awareness within Key Stage 2 (KS2) year groups, specifically years 5 and 6. The aim of the education package is to educate children about air pollution and the effects it can have on health. Get in touch if you would like us to visit your school
  • Encourage parents on the school run to park further away and make the school entrance a car free zone
  • Bikeability training is offered in schools to give children the skills they need to enjoy cycling from an early age. Email enquiries@everybody.org.uk for more information or visit www.travelcheshire.co.uk
  • Visit the Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools (SMOTS) Strategy to learn how we can help enable and encourage sustainable travel to and from schools
  • Develop your own travel plan - Modeshift STARS is an online resource that helps schools through the process of developing their own travel plan

Further Information

  • National Clean Air Day - an initiative of the organisation, Global Action Plan (a non-governmental group), that focuses on improving air quality and public health
  • Cheshire East Air Quality - information on Air Quality Management Areas within Cheshire East
  • Air pollution guidance for school staff - advice and information from The National Education Union
  • UK Air - Defra's website provides air quality forecasts, near real time measurement data, national modelling data as well as general information on air pollution, published research reports and reports on national compliance