On Saturday 1 April 2017, environmental campaigners in Winchester launched a new initiative, BREATHE: for better air, transport, health and environment. Posters will be going up in windows “We back BREATHE” with a distinctive green thumbs-up sign.

We back BREATHE poster

Winchester Action on Climate Change, which organised the meeting, is making common cause with other campaigns to make people more aware of the problems caused by air pollution and to press for action to reduce harmful emissions from motor vehicles. Air pollution kills an estimated 50 people a year in Winchester District by damaging their health, as well as endangering the lives of people now and in future generations from global warming and climate change.

“We want the BREATHE name and logo to be taken up by everyone who wants better air, transport, health and environment”, said Christine Holloway who created the slogan. “It’s not just WinACC and it's not just Winchester. Health agencies can “Back BREATHE” for better air. Joggers will “Back BREATHE” so they aren't poisoned while they run. We’ll ask bus companies to put our logo and slogan on their new low-emission buses, and the City Council to put it on their new air monitors.”

People at the meeting suggested working with schools, nurseries and churches. One supporter plans to take it to her choir – as she said, “We need healthy lungs to sing.”

Drivers want clean healthy air too.  “Drivers don't realise that they are breathing more polluted air than cyclists or pedestrians”, pointed out Hazel Agombar who was at the meeting. “And so are their passengers, including their children. The air circulation system takes in air from the exhaust of the car in front, except in the very latest models”.

The meeting invited people to take posters for their neighbours, to follow BREATHE_Win on twitter and to join BREATHE on Facebook.

With the Hampshire County Council elections coming on 4 May, supporters were encouraged to ask candidates whether they would press for the County Council to use its transport powers to reduce emissions. They want roads to give priority to people on foot and cycling, transport budgets spent on walking and cycling, and the Council to work with bus companies to get people out of their cars and onto the bus.

BREATHE logoWinACC is already working with Winchester City Council on its new Air Quality Management Plan, and will hold a meeting with the 2017 air monitoring results at the end of the year to check if the plan is having an impact.

Next month, WinACC ask the Hampshire Climate Action Network of invite groups in Southampton Portsmouth and across the county to use BREATHE slogan and logo.

Anyone who wants to use the BREATHE slogan, name or logo should contact BREATHE@winacc.org.uk. More information on the website WinACC.org.uk/BREATHE.