Air pollution is the largest environmental health risk in Europe, as recognised by the World Health Organisation and the UK government, which is why Bristol City Council has developed a programme of clean air actions to help individuals and organisations make easy changes to the way they travel.

Poor air quality causes heart and lung diseases, it is also linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development and may even contribute to mental health issues. Every year, air pollution contributes to 300 deaths in Bristol.

The council has ambitious plans to improve the air we breathe, how we travel and make Bristol cleaner and safer for everyone. These include:

Introducing a Clean Air Zone in summer 2022 that will charge older and more polluting vehicles to drive in the city. As more people switch to cleaner vehicles and cleaner ways of travelling, the zone will improve air quality across the city and reduce traffic travelling into the city centre.

Making it easier to walk and cycle for short journeys and use public transport for longer journeys. Recent improvements include the pedestrianisation of the Old City area, the closure of Bristol Bridge to general traffic, new bike lanes and widened pavements. Further improvements are planned across the city.

Improving the air quality and environment outside of schools by piloting more Bristol School Streets and encouraging parents to leave their car at home during the school run.

Working with the West of England Combined Authority and neighbouring councils to deliver new park and rides and rapid bus routes in and out of Bristol. We will be asking for your ideas on bus and cycle upgrades to the A4, A37 and A4018 this summer. By making space for public transport, we will pave the way for our ambitious plans for a mass transit public transport system running on over and underground lines, which will revolutionise how we travel and significantly improve congestion and air quality. There’ll be a public consultation on this in September.

Delivering liveable neighbourhoods that are free from congestion and pollution. This means stopping rat-running traffic from cutting through neighbourhoods, while maintaining access for local people and those visiting the area for work or leisure. We’ll soon be speaking to communities about how we can best deliver safer and healthier streets across the city.

Making it easier for residents to switch to electric vehicles by installing public electric vehicle charge points and asking people where they’d like more charge points.

Supporting businesses to reduce heavy goods vehicles entering the city and switch to more greener ways of transporting goods. The One City Plan aims to have 95% of city centre deliveries made by electric vehicles within 10 years. In January 2021 we gave £100,000 to Zedify to set up an innovative new zero emissions delivery hub and fleet of electric cargo bikes and trikes.

Raising awareness of the dangers of burning solid fuels, in open fires and wood-burning stoves, which has a significant impact on air pollution.

Find out more

The council can’t solve the challenge of reducing air pollution in Bristol on its own, everyone needs to play their part. There are simple things we can all do to reduce our pollution and help make Bristol a healthier place for everyone.