East Herts 'Breathe Clean' initiative goes live

Councillor Tim Hoskin with year 5 pupils from Abel Smith primary school
East Herts Council has marked this year’s Clean Air Day (Thursday 15 June) with the launch of Breathe Clean, a clean air initiative which will run across the district over the next twelve months.

The project will work with schools, workplaces and community groups to highlight things we can do to protect ourselves from air pollution while reducing our personal contribution to the issue.  

The launch took place at Abel Smith School, Hertford, at a clean air workshop for 30 Year 5 children.  The session aimed to raise their awareness of topics such as air quality and the benefits of walking and cycling.  The youngsters also helped create a short film about air quality to be shared with parents and the wider community.

Using government funding that East Herts Council successfully bid for, Breathe Clean will run in collaboration with Hertfordshire County Council’s ‘Let’s Clear the Air’ campaign so as to spread information about clean air as widely as possible.  In addition to workshops, there will be an inter-school competition and opportunities for schools to get involved in outdoor classroom days, car free days, walk to school weeks and scientific experiments to measure air quality. 

Working with businesses, the Breathe Clean project will focus on how workplaces can encourage greater use of public transport and higher levels of walking and cycling to work. The project team will also work with community groups to help them raise awareness of air pollution through their own networks and neighbourhoods, and set up sustainability events.  

Councillor Tim Hoskin, Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability at East Herts Council, said: “Air pollution causes avoidable deaths across the UK every year and children are particularly at risk as their immune systems, lungs and brains are still developing. Improving air quality across East Herts is going to be a key priority for the council over the next four years so it is particularly timely that the launch of this new initiative coincides with Clean Air Day 2023.”

Daniel Hewitt, headteacher at Abel Smith School, said: ‘We are very pleased to be the first school to take part in the Breathe Clean project. The workshop captured the imagination of our Year 5s today and really improved their understanding of this increasingly important environmental issue.”

Schools, businesses and community groups who are interested in taking part in Breathe Clean should get in touch with the specialist organisation, MP Smarter Travel, who are running the programme with the council, by emailing info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk