Thank you for logging onto this Clean Air action guide. We hope you’ll find everything you need to help tackle air pollution, both where you live and across the country.

We’re really excited to have you on board – there are already lots of great stories unfolding of amazing campaigning, actions and events all over the UK to clean up our air.

Unfortunately, the UK government has done little to tackle the problem of chronic air pollution on anything like the scale necessary. Its much anticipated Air Quality Plan – published in July 2017 – is no way near sufficient. If focuses on an eye-catching announcement of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, but will do little to end illegal air pollution now, or even anytime soon.

Instead, the government has opted to pass the buck to councils, whilst not offering them much in the way of support or funding to improve air quality.

So it’s time to shift the focus. We want to support your campaigns at a local level, particularly in large towns and cities, which have bigger incentives to tackle the problem and already have some powers to do so.

Your group is uniquely placed to inspire a campaign locally – a campaign which can build broad public and political support for real action on air pollution.

Campaigns focussed on winning a Clean Air Zone have a real chance of making a difference. A Clean Air Zone is essentially an area where the worst-polluting vehicles are restricted in order to improve the air for everybody. They’re a proven method of reducing both emissions and the impact of air pollution on many people’s health. They work in practice in European cities and also within the UK government’s own theoretical modelling. But they’ll be a hard sell for politicians – lots of people don’t appreciate being told where they can and can’t drive…

Every town and city will have a unique context, so starting out by calling for a Clean Air Zone may not always be the most appropriate thing to do. Often it won’t be sufficient on its own – a Clean Air Zone is no good if there aren’t decent, clean public transport alternatives, safe walking and cycling, and lots of places to charge electric cars. So we’re here to help you figure out not only what sort of Clean Air Zone will best suit where you live, but also how to best plan and run your campaign.

To succeed you’ll also need to build and run your campaign with a broad and diverse range of allies in your area, especially with those people and communities most directly affected by air pollution.

In short, we think what’s needed are lots of powerful, engaging campaigns to tackle air pollution at a local level.

In this guide

In this guide you’ll find useful advice and resources to support your work, including:

  • Planning and running a campaign for Clean Air
  • Building a broad alliance and working with those most affected by air pollution
  • Lobbying decision makers and getting in the media
  • Helping to monitor air pollution
  • Working with schools
  • Spreading the word to increase awareness and support for cleaner air.

If you have any comments or suggestions on this guide, please contact us at cleanair@foe.co.uk.

The Clean Air Team

P.S. You can follow the latest developments in Friends of the Earth’s air pollution campaigning on our main campaign homepage.