GM marks Clean Air Day with green fund launch

As a series of events take place across Greater Manchester to mark the UK’s first Clean Air Day, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has announced that £21m of European funding will be used for projects that demonstrate their ability to reduce carbon emissions.

The Sustainable Urban Development Plan funding comes from Greater Manchester’s Strategic Investment Funding programme, which runs from 2014 to 2020, and aims to put into action some of the aims from the Greater Manchester Climate Change and Low Emissions Implementation Plan.

The over-arching goals of these plans is to reduce carbon emissions by 48% by 2020, prioritise reducing energy within homes, buildings and transport, and to create a low carbon economy.

Burnham said: “Climate change and air quality are two of the biggest issues facing us as a city region and for the UK as a member of the international community.

“I’ve been clear that we must make Greater Manchester a greener city region to help better the lives of everybody. Today’s announcement is another milestone in building a greener future for Greater Manchester. Our economy will be strengthened from investing in pioneering green technologies which will bring more jobs to Greater Manchester.”

As part of Clean Air Day, a business-focused event examining the issues of air quality in Greater Manchester is being held at the Innside hotel at First Street between 12pm and 2pm today.

Speakers include Cllr Alex Ganotis, portfolio lead on environmental issues for Greater Manchester; Natasha Parker, head of wellbeing at Global Action Plan; and Nigel Bellamy, divisional director for air quality at Jacobs.

Other initiatives today include a series of advice sessions and free “lung MOT” checks at locations including a Clean Air Dome in Piccadilly Gardens, the Trafford Centre, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Wythenshaw Hospital.

It is estimated that up to 2,000 people die prematurely in Greater Manchester each year due to air pollution.

Helen Smith, Transport for Greater Manchester’s head of logistics, environment and active travel, said: “There’s plenty going on across the region for everyone to join in and find out more about how air quality affects us all.

“Both short and long-term exposure to air pollutants can affect people’s health, with poor air quality contributing to respiratory illness, heart disease and some cancers. We’re working with schools, businesses, local authorities and the NHS across Greater Manchester to raise awareness of this and offer practical advice and help on how to take action.”

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