Support for air quality improvements as Barnsley Hospital announce pollution reduction measures

Action has begun to try to improve air quality in a Barnsley suburb where pollution has crept towards dangerous levels.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 20 June, 2019, 17:39
Signing up: Barnsley Hospital Chief Executive Officer Bob Kirton and Coun Jim Andrews have both signed 'clean air pledges' to do their bit for the environment

Barnsley Hospital, two neighbouring primary schools and the council joined forces to use Clean Air Day in an attempt to educate motorists that the simple act of switching off their engines in standing traffic can help reduce the problem.

An information stand was set up side the hospital, which sits at the crossroads of Pogmoor Road, Gawber Road and Greenfoot Lane which is regularly choked with traffic.

Old Town ward councillors, who represent the area, have previously raised their concerns about poor air quality, especially in the vicinity of schools for young children and the hospital has already introduced a range of measures to help offset air pollution, including new parking bays for electric cars with charging points, a ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme to help staff who want to buy bicycles for the commute to and from work.

However, Chief Executive Officer Bob Kirton said he believed there was more they could learn by listening to the public’s ideas.

“It is the start of a journey. Working with the council, we are two of the biggest employers, will give the issue more focus,” he said.

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“We are working with partners around public transport, how staff can cycle to work and use electric cars, but I think there is still much more we can do.”

Staff at the hospital have also been encouraged to take a Clean Air Day pledge, with children at Summer Lane and St Mary’s primary schools being taught about air quality and to encourage their families to walk or cycle rather than driving locally.

Coun Jim Andrews, Barnsley Council’s Cabinet spokesman for Public Health, said: “Clean Air Day is an excellent opportunity to celebrate all that the borough is doing to promote wellbeing, active travel and healthier lifestyles. It’s great to see so many organisations getting involved and spreading the message of improving air quality.

“Why not make a clean air pledge yourself for the year, by reducing your driving and travelling more actively?”