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Residents and businesses in Wokingham Borough can do their part to reduce air pollution by picking up some environmentally friendly habits on Clean Air Day.

The event on June 15, which is the UK’s biggest air pollution campaign, encourages people to make simple changes to reduce the serious health effects caused by vehicle and other emissions. It’s themed this year around the effect that air pollution has on mental health, although it also has significant physical effects and causes up to 36,000 deaths a year nationally. The council is supporting this important initiative locally with a range of fun activities that anyone can take part in.

Rewards for leaving the car at home

 The council supports Love to Ride, a cycling initiative that challenges participants to climb the local leaderboard and earn prizes by racking up the miles, either by themselves or with colleagues. It’s aimed at all ability levels and even very short rides count, so it’s worth joining whether you’re a saddle-seasoned enthusiast or a total beginner.

Bike to the future as travel habits change

 This year’s Love to Ride Bike Month challenge, which took place throughout May, saw 371 riders including 32 newcomers ride a total of 53,091 miles across almost 4,000 trips. As well as racking up the equivalent of about 15 journeys between London and New York, they beat last year’s total of just over 50,000 miles – setting a borough record for the second year running.

Make that healthy change today

 Cllr Paul Fishwick, executive member for active travel, sport and leisure, said:

“We’re working to improve local air quality all year round, but Clean Air Day is a valuable opportunity for everyone to consider doing their bit. Air pollution causes all kinds of health problems and is particularly damaging for children, whose lungs are still developing, so we owe it to them to do all we can. The benefits of changing your lifestyle aren’t just long-term – by getting out more and enjoying more activity, you’ll feel the difference in your daily life straight away. We’ve come up with lots of really fun and easy ways to get involved, so why not give them a try?”

Encouraging and enabling the next generation

 The My Journey team are encouraging every primary school to take part in a Clean Air Day poster competition alongside their year-round efforts to encourage more walking, cycling and scooting. The winning school will get a year’s access to air quality monitoring data, showing the biggest sources of pollution to help them come up with ideas to reduce it. The council also hopes to provide more sustainable travel routes and other amenities, as outlined in its recent Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, and is doing all it can to secure funding from the Government and other sources. It also supports initiatives like installing electric vehicle chargers and encouraging more people to use the buses, which it hopes to improve in years to come through its Bus Service Improvement Plan.

Find out more about our Eco Travel programme.