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Spirit of Manchester Story Week 2019 - Day 5

Spare the air - "School children, teachers and Whalley Range Climate Action Group plan a "car idling and parking" ticket scheme to promote clean air

Today members of the Clean Air and Healthy Streets subgroup of the Whalley Range Climate Action Group met to plan further awareness-raising activities with schools in Whalley Range. The climate action group is an informal network of around 40 local people, currently building-on the success of Clean Air Day in June, which saw a road outside of a Whalley Range school closed to vehicles.

Closing the road enabled young children to play freely without the fear of traffic and most importantly to learn about the importance of clean air. Measurements taken on Clean Air Day showed a clear reduction in fumes on the closed street compared to when it was open.

Supported by the Clean Air Group, schoolchildren are now developing a car-idling parking ticket, Spare the Air, issued by the children to make parents aware of the harms of car fumes such as the onset of asthma and acute exacerbation of other respiratory illnesses.

One parent has said, “Driving my asthmatic son to school, I had no idea that he was breathing fumes inside the car as well as outside.”

Another idea has been to develop a game of snakes and ladders aimed at families and promoting less harmful ways of getting children to school and the health benefits of walking.

Local Whalley Rangers volunteering in the climate action group are also lobbying Manchester City Council to increase knowledge and action for clean air across the city for the benefit of individuals, families and whole communities.


Citizens Advice Manchester Energy Advice Service - Helping people to do their bit for the planet by being energy savvy

Citizens Advice Manchester have been delivering energy advice for eight years, and their team of seven advisers are National Energy Action (NEA) qualified. They are dedicated to helping combat fuel poverty through providing one-to-one advice and support to people experiencing difficulties with their energy costs or who are at risk of fuel poverty. This includes:

• Dealing with fuel debt, including negotiation of affordable payment arrangements and grant applications to Charitable Trusts for arrears and essential household items
• Accessing grants for insulation and other energy efficiency measures
• Finding the cheapest supplier and tariff
• Budgeting for ongoing energy consumption
• Understanding your bill & setting heating controls.

We attended Citizens Advice Manchester's 80th anniversary event, and caught up with Jo and Jenny, two members of the Energy Advice Service."People are saving money by using less energy", they explain, "but they’re also doing their bit for the planet and the future of it. They can make tiny changes. Like turning your thermostat down one degree, you can save £80 a year and reduce carbon emissions. A number of suppliers offer really great eco-friendly tariffs that are based on renewable energy sources. We can advise on how to choose the best option for people who would like a green tariff and more often than not there is not too much difference in price."

In addition to working on a one-to-one basis, they also work with partners at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Manchester City Council to become less reliant on gas.

"I'm very proud to be here on our 80th Birthday and feel there has been a massive difference in the energy market throughout that time. I’d love to see the developments to more renewable energy sources and it would be great to check in on the 90th Birthday to see just how far we’ve come."