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Clean Air Day – Thursday 17th June

  • by J.W.

– “a day to highlight the problems of air pollution, and talk about practical things we can all do to tackle it.”


Earlier in the year, car-free spaces in the market square area were put into place:

Part-pedestrianisation for Sidmouth town centre made permanent – Vision Group for Sidmouth

This should be extended, as reported a couple of days ago:

Plans to pedestrianise Sidmouth town centre put forward | Sidmouth Herald

One of the ideas is to allow for roads and pavements to be used for other things:

Street café culture for Sidmouth? part two – Vision Group for Sidmouth

This is part of a general push for ‘car-free’ streets:

Car-free cities: a rare moment to make radical change? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Although not everyone is happy:

The questions around Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods – Vision Group for Sidmouth


The campaigning group ‘Possible’, on the other hand, would like all this pushing much further – and is promoting this Thursday’s Clean Air Day:

Thursday 17th June is Clean Air Day – a day to highlight the problems of air pollution, and talk about practical things we can all do to tackle it. And as a climate charity, Possible is keen to mark the occasion – after all, action on air pollution goes hand-in-hand with action on climate change. 

What is air pollution and why should I care about it?  

Air pollution is not just about the way it feels and tastes to be outside. The term refers to a combination of tiny particles that we breathe in and then settle into our lungs, hearts, brains, and other parts of our bodies. The vast majority of these pollutants come from motor traffic – and they are deadly; they are linked to lung disease, heart disease, dementia, premature birth, early death, and many more health issues

To make matters worse, the people who are most at risk are the least likely to be causing the problem. The current way our cities are structured means that air pollution hits some people harder than others: people living in the most deprived areas, areas with marginalised communities, older people, and disabled people tend to have the lowest rates of car ownership but live in areas with the busiest roads and less green space. Babies and children are also at higher risk. This is partly because their organs are still developing, but also because their mouths and noses are lower and closer to exhaust pipes, meaning they’re more likely to breathe in the pollutants. 

So what’s the solution? 

The UK is breaking the law with its current air pollution levels. We know that motor traffic is to blame for most of the air pollution problems we have in cities across the UK. We have let mass car ownership dominate our cities – choking our air, taking up space , and blocking access to fresh air and nature. If we want cleaner streets, we need to change how our streets are used – and that means fewer cars, more space, safer cycling, better and more affordable public transport, and lots more trees (see – all things that are good for the climate too).

How can I get involved with Clean Air Day?

For this year’s Clean Air Day, Possible wants to get people excited about cleaner greener cities. We know change can be scary – but by creating positive visions for the future of our streets, we can bring more people onboard with the sort of changes we need to make happen.

We’re starting with parklets. Put simply, parklets are old parking spaces that have been transformed into something for people to enjoy. They are spaces that communities can use to rest, socialise, play, or even just fill with plants. What would you do with the space currently taken up by parked cars?

Get your climate-fighting creative juices flowing this Clean Air Day with our Design Your Own Parklet tool. It is suitable for children and adults (because parklets can be used by children and adults, and maybe animals…).

Why you should care about Clean Air Day (and what you can do to mark the occasion) — Possible


With more recent news pages from them on the subject:

A history of parklets — Possible

Low Traffic Neighbourhood — Possible


Here’s the official website for the day:

About Clean Air Day


And whilst the Sid Valley feels full of fresh air, around Exeter it’s not so great:

Failing to protect us from air pollution – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The ‘Net Zero’ Exeter plan at risk – Vision Group for Sidmouth