With just under three weeks left until the second ever Clean Air Day, Glasgow city council has outlined a host of events that will be taking place in the city on June 21 to encourage cleaner travel.
This will focus around a major free event at George Square in the centre of the city, which is expected to attract thousands of visitors, and includes educational initiatives, cycling workshops and information on cleaner vehicles.
A section of road outside the City Chambers in the square will be sealed off from cars on the day so people can try out bicycles and electric bikes along a specially designed course.
Planned activities include cycle training sessions, the chance to try out an electric bike and mechanics will be on hand to carry out free on the spot repairs and provide maintenance tips for riders who bring their bikes along on the day.
Electric cars, vans and information will also be on display along with information about how motorists can join car clubs, to cut down on the number of cars on streets.
The programme of events was launched by Councillor Anna Richardson, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, with the support of a group of Glasgow school children in the main square yesterday (May 31).
She watched pupils from Hyndland Secondary School fit air quality monitoring equipment with the assistance of Susannah Telfer, a senior technical consultant at Ricardo Energy & Environment which measures air quality in streets in towns and cities.
Councillor Richardson said: “Reducing emissions is a top priority for the city. Events like Clean Air Day can increase awareness of what is being done to improve the quality of the air we all breathe.
“Clean Air Day will showcase a huge range of exhibits and activities such as active travel, renewable energy, car clubs and electric vehicles that can all help to improve air quality.
“We have made big improvements in air quality in Glasgow but poor air remains a public health concern and a major social justice issue for the city.”
Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS), which is coordinating the event north of the Border on behalf of the Scottish Government’s Cleaner Air for Scotland (CAFS) strategy, wants motorists to consider electric or low emission vehicles as an alternative to polluting diesel and petrol models.
John Bynorth, policy and communications officer for Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS) said: “Clean Air Day aims to encourage people to take at least one action to help improve air quality, whether that’s walking the children to school rather than taking the car, or walking to work, using public transport or finding out more information about an electric or low emission car – or joining a city car club.
“George Square is a perfect location for this event in the heart of Glasgow as it will allow office workers, families, shoppers and the thousands of other people who will be passing by to find out more about what they can do to improve air quality.
“We would encourage everyone to come down and have a look at the electric cars, try their hand on an electric bike or get pedalling and make their own delicious smoothie on June 21.”
A spokesperson for Ricardo said: “It is a great opportunity to raise people’s awareness of what air pollution is and what can be and is currently being done to tackle the issue in Scotland.”
Glasgow is the first of four Scottish cities – including also Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh – to be required to implement a Low Emission Zone before the end of the decade. Glasgow’s LEZ is expected to come into effect on 31 December, with an initial focus on encouraging cleaner buses in the city.
Cllr Richardson added: “The forthcoming Low Emission Zone will make significant reductions to air pollution in the city centre. Our LEZ will be the first in the country and will deliver cleaner air for the people of Glasgow.”
Clean Air Day