In March 2021, Oxford City Council was awarded £162,500 to develop an air quality community website to help raise awareness of air pollution across Oxfordshire.
The website - which is being created in partnership between Oxford City, Oxfordshire County Council, Cherwell, West Oxfordshire, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse - aims to integrate all relevant air quality related information from all district councils in Oxfordshire under one single site.
Now, residents across Oxfordshire are encouraged to take part in the consultation and share their views on what information they want to see on the future website.
The consultation hosted on Oxford City Council’s consultation portal aims to identify what information residents across the county want to see on the new website to help them find more about air quality.
The information presented on the website will span a wide range of air quality subjects and will be tailored to and for different age groups and levels of expertise. This consultation aims to identify the key issues and best ways to present this information which can at times be complex.
The consultation is asking residents for their thoughts on how they currently engage with air quality related messages, as well as their views on the website including information such as data on current air pollution levels in their area, specific types of air pollutants, and regular news about air quality projects across the county.
Oxford has been historically subject to poor air quality. It was declared an air quality management area in September 2010 due to high levels of NO2.
The European Union has set a legal limit for the average limit of toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in towns and cities of 40µg/m3 or below– however, recent studies seem to indicate that there is no safe limit for NO2.
Air pollution contributes to an increased chance of developing lung cancer, increased risk of heart disease and increases in asthma, coughs and bronchitis.
It is thought that air pollution is responsible for 64,000 deaths in Britain each year – just 18% less than the 78,000 deaths annually caused by tobacco (European Heart Journal, March 2019).
A January 2020, a study from Centre for Cities also found out that at least one in 17 deaths in Oxford is related to air pollution.
Health experts have warned that there is no safe level of air pollution.
Councillor Pete Sudbury, Cabinet Member for Climate Change Delivery and Environment, Oxfordshire County Council said: "Tackling air pollution and climate change is a huge priority for Oxfordshire County Council. We are now set to implement a series of bold plans to address these, for example by giving people real choices around walking, cycling or using public transport rather than private cars and accelerating the shift to electric vehicles. We are keen to offer residents an easy-to-use source of information on air pollution in their area. We’d like to hear your views about how you’d like to see the data so please offer your comments in this consultation by 5 September."
The consultation is open until midnight on 5 September 2021.