Work underway in NI on region’s first ever Clean Air Strategy

Northern Ireland will soon move forward on a clean air strategy that aims to make air quality better, improve health and wellbeing, reduce pollutants in the air and protect the environment.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots said he planned to take the next step towards the publication of the region’s first ever Clean Air Strategy.

The comments came as Minister Poots met with Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon today (October 8) on International Clean Air Day. The pair committed to work together and find ways to improve Northern Ireland’s air quality.

Minister Poots said: “Air pollution can have a serious effect on people’s health. It also has negative impacts on our environment. I recognise this and that is why I am taking two significant steps in 2020 to address air pollution in Northern Ireland.

“On May 7, I launched Northern Ireland’s first air quality app. The app gives the public instant up to date information on the air pollution levels across Northern Ireland.”

The app uses data from the air quality NI website and makes it more accessible to the public. It also can send notifications when levels of pollutants are elevated or forecast to increase.

“It also provides health advice on the impacts of air pollution and a five-day air quality forecast so that people can make informed choices about their health,” Poots explained.

Secondly, in the coming weeks, I will be launching a Clean Air Strategy Discussion document. This is a tremendous step forward in the development of the first Clean Air Strategy for Northern Ireland.

“Work has involved close collaboration with other departments, in particular, the Department for Infrastructure and I encourage engagement with my department to exchange ideas on air quality issues and mitigation measures.”

Clean Air Day

Coordinated by Global Action Plan, Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign. It seeks to bring together businesses, education and the health sector to increase awareness of the health impacts of air pollution, improve the understanding of air pollution and suggest actions that everyone can take to reduce air pollution.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “We all have a part to play to keep our air clean. Since my appointment as Minister for Infrastructure, I made a commitment to deliver sustainable infrastructure that will transform our communities today and for the generations behind us.

We are now living in a new normal and part of that is ensuring we create more opportunities for active, cleaner, greener, sustainable travel.

“My department has taken forward opportunities to weave blue/green infrastructure together with new cycle paths and footpaths. We have seen how the introduction of greenways has helped to improve the physical and mental health of the local communities they serve, reducing congestion and emissions.

“For journeys where walking and cycling are not feasible, clean public transport must be the next mode of choice. And we are making solid progress in this area.”