This June is Hampshire Clean Air Month. Events and activities are being planned across the county by local climate change campaigners under the heading Hampshire BREATHE. 

BREATHE posters and stickers are appearing in windows round the county to show the strength of popular support for better air, transport, health and environment. Local groups are adopting the slogan “Back BREATHE” with their own slant, such as “Our choir backs BREATHE”. 

With the first ever UK National Clean Air Day on Thursday 15 June, Hampshire BREATHE encourages groups of any kind to create their own BREATHE action. They can share ideas in the Back BREATHE Facebook group and see lots of ideas on the website of National Clean Air Day at www.cleanairday.org.uk

In Winchester, climate charity Winchester Action on Climate Change is focussing on traffic in the city as a major cause of air pollution. 

At a public meeting Movement in Winchester: Learning from Oxford, organised by WinACC in partnership with the City of Winchester Trust and Friends of the Earth Winchester, renowned urban designer Ben Hamilton-Baillie and Bev Hindle of Oxfordshire County Council will show how Oxford has tackled traffic management to improve the city, the impact on businesses and the public, and what this could mean for Winchester. Chaired by Cllr Jan Warwick, Environment and Transport Portfolio-holder, Winchester City Council, the meeting is on Tuesday 13 June in Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry St at 7.30. “Join us to share ideas and see if there’s a consensus on how to make it easier and more pleasant to move round Winchester town”, said Phil Gagg, one of the organisers of the meeting. “We’re expecting a packed house, so email us at events@winacc.org.uk to be sure of your seat." 

People who want to take the conversation further are invited to a follow-up meeting on Saturday 1 July at 10.30, Movement in Winchester: applying the lessons 10.30am-12.00 (10.00 for tea/coffee) at St Lawrence's Parish Room, Colebrook St, Winchester SO23 9LH.

Winchester Action on Climate Change will repeat its Pollution Poll at the Hat Fair on Sunday 2 July. This entertaining survey invites people to vote using milk-bottle-tops in glass sweet jars, for what they want done to improve the air in Winchester. Last year, the favourite ideas were to restrict vehicle access to the town centre (only residents, taxis, disability and delivery vehicles) and create more pedestrian areas in the town centre. There was also considerable support for raising charges to park in the city centre, and cutting charges to use Park-and-Ride, in line with the City Council’s changes to car park charges introduced on 1 May. 

It’s not only Winchester which is joining in Hampshire BREATHE’s June Clean Air Month.

In Fareham, a Fresh Air Walk on Monday 5 June will highlight air pollution by wearing masks, under the banner Fareham BREATHE with the Parish Ecology Group. Meet at the Ironmaster Pub West Street Fareham at 10.30am. 

In Portsmouth, activists have called on city planners to “change their outdated thinking”, claiming that the £40m cost to build a new city centre road would be better spent “greening” the city with well-landscaped roundabouts and linked greenways for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Anyone who wants to find out more or join in can go to the BREATHE Facebook page, follow @BREATHE_Win on Twitter or email BREATHE@winacc.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

  1. At the WinACC meeting on 13 June, Ben Hamilton-Baillie, renowned urban designer, will reflect on his recent work in Oxford and elsewhere, including street design and traffic in towns, and how he thinks the lessons from Oxford and elsewhere could be applied here. His consultancy has promoted new approaches to traffic management and street design to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists and reclaim the street as an urban space.
  2. Bev Hindle Strategic Director – Communities at Oxfordshire County Council will speak on the development of the Oxford Transport Strategy, what has been achieved and what is planned, including its impact on the economic life of the town and on air quality. Bev is the Strategic Director responsible for the Highway and Waste Authorities, Infrastructure Strategy and Delivery, Economy & Skills and Property services. As one of four County Directors, Bev is also the lead officer for the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and England’s Economic Heartland Alliance. He is leading the development of an Infrastructure Strategy for the Alliance and has played a key role in developing the County’s devolution proposals to date.
  3. For further information about BREATHE, visit winacc.org.uk/BREATHE or call Chris Holloway, WinACC Director on 07779 283451.