Air quality - ways to help reduce air pollution

Air quality - ways to help reduce air pollution

Here are some of the ways you can help to reduce air pollution


Leave the car at home. Where possible walk, cycle, bus or train to your destination. This not only reduces the amount of air pollution we make but can help us get exercise and lose weight. Traveline North East can help you plan your journey on public transport.


Cycle short trips. Plan your cycle route using Sustrans website) to help reduce traffic congestion and traffic pollution caused by unnecessary journeys. You will also feel healthier and fitter.


Work smarter. See if you can car share with colleagues or use a Park and Ride for part of your journey to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Rather than travel to meetings why not try a video call or conference call instead.


School run. Talk to other parents at your child’s school to make a better school run. Car sharing or a walking bus often cut traffic at the school gate by 30% - making the air cleaner for children.


Drive in an eco-friendly way that saves fuel and reduces harmful emissions. The Energy Saving Trust have a guide to smarter driving.


Switch off the engine when stationary. If stationary at traffic lights or in traffic turn off your car engine, as long as it's safe to do so.  If your vehicle is fitted with start-stop technology make sure this is activated. Stopping your engine when not needed cuts pollution but can also reduce fuel consumption, saving you money. Unnecessary engine idling can be an offence.


Only use approved wood burners/biomass boilers. Using cleaner fuels, in a cleaner appliance which is installed by a competent person, knowing how to operate it efficiently, and ensuring that chimneys are regularly swept. Further guidance on having an open fire and the use of wood burning stoves is available from HM Government. Before purchasing a wood or biomass boiler always check if the height of your chimney/flue needs Clean Air Act Approval. It is illegal to use an appliance not approved by the Government in a Smoke Control Area and illegal to use an unauthorised fuel on an open fireplace.


Avoid open fires. Instead of burning garden waste, try composting instead.


Keep your car and boiler servicing up to date. Having your car and central heating boiler serviced regularly makes sure that they run as efficiently and cleanly as possible.


Check your vehicle tyres regularly. Keeping your tyres inflated to the manufacturers recommendations will make it more efficient and use less fuel. Your car will create less pollution and you will save money on fuel too.


Improve the energy efficiency of your home or business. Burning fossil fuels to heat buildings and in the generation of electricity are major sources of air pollution. We can do lots of simple things to reduce our energy use - for example switch off lights when they are needed, don't leave televisions on standby, boil the kettle with the amount of water needed and run the washing machine or dishwasher only when they are fully loaded.


Choose your electricity supplier carefully. Making sure your electricity supplier uses renewable energy helps to reduce the pollution created by power generation.

Did you know?

Air pollution can be harmful to all of us and every year thousands of people in the UK die prematurely due to air pollution or are admitted to hospital.  The young, elderly and people suffering from lung and heart conditions are most at risk. Some pollutants are also known to cause cancer and linked to other illnesses.

Need more information?

Clean Air Day

Energy Saving Trust


UK Air (HM Government)

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