Bristol residents support measures required to achieve cleaner air

Our research found that residents’ suggestions on tackling air quality reflect the ambition of the city to reach clean air compliance and net zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible, in line with the Government’s legal requirements. As part of our study, 1,400 Bristol people were asked what they want from their future city. Many indicated they would be willing to drive less in the future and adopt more pro-environmental behaviour.

Three-quarters (74%) of participants surveyed in the ClairCity study want to use public transport or active travel in the future, compared to 54% now. For shopping and leisure, 66% want to use public or active transport in the future, compared to 38% now.

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We found that if residents’ preferences were implemented, compliance with legal levels of air pollutant Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) would be reached in the timeframe required by Government. The study was conducted in 2017, before the announcement of the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) plan but the policies identified as being popular with citizens were similar to those being developed by Bristol City Council to achieve compliance in the shortest time possible.

In fact, our research showed that citizens supported measures that went further than those currently being developed. Implementing the policies identified by residents would also allow the city to achieve carbon neutrality sooner than current baseline policy ideas, the EU study revealed.

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ClairCity involved citizens in decision-making through a variety of methods, including surveys, workshops (in Brislington, Bishopston, Barton Hill, Knowle West) and an interactive game for smartphones called ClairCity Skylines. They were presented with possible policy measures and asked what they would support to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions, as well as what enabling changes could be made to make adoption more favourable. Our modellers across the EU then took these ideas and quantified what the results would be.

The favourite policy measures that resulted from the engagement process were banning/phasing out the most polluting vehicles (not just charging vehicles); making buses greener and cleaner; making public transport cheaper, and creating good alternatives to car use – through better walking and cycling infrastructure.

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Residents taking part in the study also called for a faster implementation of change or more ambitious targets to enable them to be more environmentally friendly. However, these engagements occurred prior to the IPCC report in 2018, which indicated there was a 12 year window in which urgent action on climate change. It is possible the suggested measures would be more ambitious if the research was conducted today.

Our Technical Director, Professor Enda Hayes, Director of UWE Bristol’s Air Quality Management Resource Centre, said:

“Citizens clearly seek ambitious targets to reduce air pollution and climate change causing carbon emissions in Bristol. Our research shows that citizen involvement in these discussions can spur on city wide action. People want to change but need support from our businesses, workplaces,  councils and national government if we want to live with clean air.

“The West of England is faced with the daunting task of reducing air pollution and carbon emissions to safe levels as soon as possible. These citizen supported ideas indicate that it’s not just about banning or phasing out polluting vehicles – the conditions have to be created so that citizens can access local amenities without polluting our environment and health. ClairCity shows that the task of future proofing the city can be sped up with the involvement of Bristol’s citizens.”

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said:

“We have a duty to clean Bristol’s air, and we are currently working hard to achieve legal compliance with the Government’a air quality limits in the shortest possible time.

We welcome these findings and have made significant progress. As always, we will continue to engage and listen to people’s views as our plans develop further”

For the latest information on the clean air plans for Bristol visit https://www.cleanairforbristol.org/


Supporting Bristol Clean Air Day 2019

The UK celebrated its third Clean Air Day on 20th June 2019, and the ClairCity team were in high demand across Bristol and the media.

Our day started with a morning assembly at Ashton Gate Primary School in South Bristol thanks to Action Greater Bedminster, where 300 keen young air quality scientists had lots of ideas on how to clean up Bristol’s dirty air.

Many thanks to our new friends at Ashton Gate Primary – 300 smart and ready air quality experts with loads of ideas on how we can improve the air we breathe together #CleanAirDay @cleanairdayuk @DayBristol @sbristolvoice pic.twitter.com/aI2LRFBRII

— ClairCity (@ClairCity) June 20, 2019

The children already knew that air pollution was a problem, but they were glad to hear that their location and the traffic calming measures in front of their school meant that their playground was under the legal limit. Worse news was that their city centre was not so safe. They planned to do an air pollution activity using our ClairCity chatterboxes to learn more and take the message home to family and friends.

Heading east

Next stop on our tour was the neighbourhood group St George Breathing Better in East Bristol. We helped them with resources and stickers while they ran a photo action campaign about air pollution in their neighbourhood. The event took place in the Beehive Centre, a busy community centre where Thursday mornings include toddler groups and supported activities for older residents – two of the most vulnerable groups for air pollution.

In the news

While Corra helped with conversations amongst neighbours, Dr Laura De Vito was interviewed on Ujima Radio, a Bristol station that designs content specifically to meet the needs of the African-Carribean and other Black and Minority Ethnic communities. Interviewed by Jasime Ketibuah-Foley, one of Bristol’s previous “Green and Black Ambassadors” for a show also featuring the Mayor of Bristol, Laura explained the links between air pollution and social inequalities.

Elsewhere in the city, Dr Jo Barnes was being interviewed for the regional lunchtime and evening BBC news, and as part of a national piece shown on Channel 4 news.

Sunshine afternoon

Then it was a lunchtime stop off at the Bristol Clean Air Alliance event in Castle Park, where a number of organisations gathered to share information on local air pollution and environmental issues with lunchtime park goers.

In the afternoon, the team hit the town again with representation at Mayor Marvin Rees’ official Clean Air Plan launch and supporting Clean Air Bishopston out on Gloucester Road in North Bristol. Colleagues from the Centre for Transport and Society at UWE Bristol provided key facts, information on transport research and options to the after-work crowd. Our huge thanks to all of the community groups involved in setting up all of the events we visited.

Super happy with our turn out today for #CleanAirDaypic.twitter.com/bUxhdJLJk4

— Bristol Clean Air Day (@DayBristol) June 20, 2019

#cleanairbishopston .. for clean air day … pic.twitter.com/8aYwWAJiDe

— The Bishopston Society (@BishSoc) June 20, 2019

If your community would like a visit from an air quality expert for a chat about the situation in Bristol or more information then please get in touch.

Mayor of Bristol promotes ClairCity Skylines

The ClairCity Skylines team with Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees

As part of the launch of ClairCity Skylines, the free game available for download on Android and iOS devices from ClairCity, Bristol’s Mayor Marvin Rees was one of the first players of the game. Alongside UWE Bristol students, he attended the game launch event in The Foundry space at UWE Bristol to test the game and talk with journalists.

Mayor Marvin Rees plays ClairCity Skylines with UWE students

Marvin said: “The ClairCity project’s new game is an exciting and different way of getting people involved in the conversation about air quality. This is a massive issue facing Bristol with our residents and visitors at risk from unacceptable levels of pollution.

“We are working hard to tackle the issue but we need everyone to work together and be aware of what we can all do to contribute to making a positive change. As well as being entertaining, this game will also provide us with an alternative insight into what people might like to see happening in our city to make it a healthier place.”

If you want to try the game, go to our ClairCity Skylines page and download it for free.

ClairCity Skylines launches for Bristol

A new game has been launched, and it’s all about Bristol. The ClairCity Skylines game from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and Bristol City Council, enables people in the city to shape how they want their city to look in the future. By making decisions in the ClairCity Skylines game, players also provide data that can help authorities solve real world problems, such as air pollution, in the city.

The free app, available for Android and iOS devices, involves visiting famous sights in the city and making decisions about how Bristol should look in the next 50 years.

Within the game, players are asked to make choices about the city, such as whether more roads should be built, if wood and coal heating in homes should be allowed, and whether more parks and green spaces should be created. The decisions they make are scored as they impact on the city’s economy and its air pollution, as well as residents’ health and happiness.

Enda Hayes, Technical Director on ClairCity and Professor of Air Quality & Carbon Management at UWE Bristol, said: “There are approximately 300 deaths a year linked to air pollution in Bristol City Council’s own figures. Our game is an innovative way to be part of a serious solution.”

The parent project, ClairCity, is an EU funded scheme looking at ways to improve wellbeing, reduce air pollution and limit carbon emissions in six cities and regions across Europe. UWE Bristol and Bristol City Council are two of the 16 partners involved in the project.

The launch of the game coincides with the beginning of a six month engagement period by Bristol City Council, which will involve speaking to local people, businesses and organisations to inform the upcoming Clean Air Plan.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said: “The ClairCity project’s new game is an exciting and different way of getting people involved in the conversation about air quality. This is a massive issue facing Bristol with our residents and visitors at risk from unacceptable levels of pollution.

“We are working hard to tackle the issue but we need everyone to work together and be aware of what we can all do to contribute to making a positive change. As well as being entertaining, this game will also provide us with an alternative insight into what people might like to see happening in our city to make it a healthier place.”

UWE Bristol academics developed ClairCity Skylines at PlayWest, a games studio based at the University that works with industry partners to apply games technology to real world problems.Andy King, leading the game design for ClairCity Skylines andAssociate Professor – Technology & Innovation at UWE Bristol, said: “We know that computer games by themselves won’t save the world, but they offer an exciting, engaging way to get lots of people involved in finding solutions for some of the problems we face around air pollution and city development.”

Bristol is the first of the cities and regions to be gamified within ClairCity. Five other areas around Europe will also get their own bespoke game to play, so that the project can map the different choices that residents make and quantify the impact those choices would have on each region.

For more information or to download the game, go to: ClairCity Skylines

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 689289.