Friday 6 February 2015

Motorists are being encouraged to regularly check the pressure of their tyres as part of Sheffield City Council’s new “Air Aware Sheffield” campaign.

Under-inflated tyres increase fuel consumption, putting increased pressure not just on drivers’ wallets, but on the environment.

Checking the air pressure in tyres only takes a matter of minutes, but if each and every Sheffielder made it part of their routine, it could have a huge effect on the city’s air quality.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene at Sheffield City Council, said “Air quality is an absolutely vital issue for all of us here in Sheffield.

“Regardless of where people live in the city, or whether they are drivers, cyclists, walkers or bus users, each and every one of us can play an important part.

“Checking tyre pressure is something that it is all too easy to forget to do. But I would urge drivers who want to save money at the pumps – and be more Air Aware at the same time – to check regularly in order to ensure that their tyres are always inflated to the specified recommendations.

“Over-inflating tyres can be dangerous too, as they have a lower grip, so look up the tyre pressures recommended in your car’s handbook, and make air pressure checks a regular habit.”

The Air Aware Sheffield campaign, launched in October last year, aims to raise particular awareness about two air pollutants; nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM10), which mainly come from road traffic. Diesel vehicles are more polluting than petrol vehicles.

Poor air quality has been estimated to account for up to 500 premature deaths per year in Sheffield, with health costs of around £160m per year. It has short and long-term health impacts, particularly for respiratory and cardiovascular health.

Those people who are particularly sensitive and are exposed to the highest levels of pollution have an estimated reduction in life expectancy by as much as nine years.

Like many other major UK cities, in some parts of Sheffield both national and European Union health based thresholds for air quality are currently being breached.

Part of the campaign, currently running across Sheffield, has involved encouraging drivers to leave their cars at home – even for just one day a week – to improve air quality, speed up their commute and also help them become fitter and healthier at the same time.

Coun Dunn added: “Small changes can really reduce air pollution and give better health to all of us.

“It would be great if everybody could use their cars a little less, and cycle or walk a little more. Even giving up the car just one day a week would make a huge difference – of around 20 per cent – and may even get people to work and school more quickly.”

To find out more about Air Aware Sheffield, visit the Facebook site at www.facebook.com/airawaresheffield, follow the campaign on Twitter at @AirAwareSheff or visit the new website at www.sheffield.gov.uk/AirAware