Low-emission zone must cover whole of city centre

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Local people who attended Broomhill Community Forum heard from a public health officer about dangerous levels of air pollution in Sheffield at its last meeting.

We now hear (The Star February 28) that the level at Broomhill shopping centre is the highest in the city. Each year it is estimated that there are 500 premature deaths and £95 millon health costs due to air pollution across the city.

Any credible Air Quality Action Plan must ensure the council plays a full part in meeting its obligation to improve the health of its citizens.

A low-emission zone must cover the city as a whole, not just the city centre. Tinkering with “solutions”, like low-emission vehicles, will not encourage people to consider alternatives to the car.

Sheffield Council needs to start planning what our city looks like in 2050 by reversing the decline in local shops, community facilities and businesses that will reduce the need to travel. We cannot rely on this happening by accident.

A 20mph limit on all residential roads across the whole city would make our streets safer and encourage people to reclaim the streets as their own allowing essential transport to operate efficiently.

In the meantime the council needs to support sustainable travel initiatives of walking and cycling and pursue joint working between the council, bus, rail and taxi operators.

Sheffield has long had a well-respected Air Quality Action Plan with rafts of workable ideas on how to address the problem. There is no excuse for any more delay in implementing its actions.

Bernard Little, Co-Chair

Sheffield Green Party

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