Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts. It is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. Additionally, air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable in society: children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions. There is also often a strong correlation with equality issues, because areas with poor air quality are also often the less affluent areas , .
The annual health cost to society of the impacts of particulate matter alone in the UK is estimated to be around £16 billion.
Air quality in Exeter is affected by a small number of hot spots where levels of nitrogen dioxide are above government objectives. These are along the Heavitree corridor (at Livery Dole junction, Fore Street Heavitree, East Wonford Hill and Honiton Road), Alphington Street and the Blackboy Road/Pinhoe Road junction. All these are included within Exeter’s Air Quality Management Area, an area where the Council will bring forward and facilitate actions to improve air quality. In the majority of the city, outside these areas, pollution levels are below the government objectives.
Exeter is exploring ways that it can improve air quality in the city. We have a legal responsibility, but also a political desire to do more.
A Net Zero Exeter will have clean air through the reduction of pollutants from private cars and fossil fuels.
- Exeter’s bus network shall comprise only Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) Buses and use non-fossil fuels.
- All public sector fleet vehicles in Exeter shall be ULEV / non-fossil fuel.
- Exeter’s taxi fleet and private hire fleet shall be in the ULEV category / non-fossil fuel.
- All private cars in Exeter shall be in the ULEV category.
- Exeter shall have a comprehensive network of electric vehicle charging points (including on-street) which supports transition to electric vehicles, with priority for shared vehicles.
- Exeter shall have achieved the World Health Organisation (WHO) targets for air quality, at all locations across the city, using a comprehensive network of air quality sensors across the city to continuously monitor air quality down to pm2.5.
- Exeter shall have implemented an education programme/awareness campaign about air quality within homes.
- Health outcomes shall be embedded in all key city policies to assess current and future wellbeing.