The UK’s first Clean Air Day was celebrated across the country on 15 June to highlight the problem of air pollution, which is the second-worst in Europe.
The national day of awareness came on the same day that the public consultation on the government’s latest air quality plan closed.
In Europe, the UK is second only to Italy in the number of early deaths attributed to nitrogen dioxide pollution – which mainly comes from diesel vehicles.
In urban areas, 80 per cent of people are now regularly exposed to air pollution levels that exceed limits stipulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
A toolkit on the Clean Air Day website provides simple advice for businesses to reduce their impact.
Encouraging the use of sustainable travel methods amongst staff is a key starting point, while investing in a lower emission vehicle fleet is also increasingly attractive and attainable.
In Greater Manchester, organisations were asked to make a pledge to do their bit to tackle poor air quality and a series of events were held across Manchester to raise awareness.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is already working with more than 500 businesses and other organisations to help them take practical steps to reduce their impact and that of their staff.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham had earlier made his own pledge to use public transport at least once a week.
“It’s not something that any one person or organisation can tackle alone – we all have to play our part”, he said.
“Can you use public transport or walk or cycle more often? Perhaps walking the kids to school is an option, or you could introduce home-working or a car sharing scheme for your employees.
“I’ve made my pledge and I call on everybody else to think about what they can do to help improve the air our children breathe.”