Tyne & Wear

Newcastle air pollution reduction plans discussed

Centre for Life Image copyright Google
Image caption The summit took place at the Centre for Life

Free travel for young people, investing in electric taxis and fitting out old homes to make them energy efficient have been suggested as ways of combating air pollution in Newcastle.

The ideas were put forward at a summit debating how to make the city carbon-neutral by 2030. 

Representatives from pressure groups and businesses were among the 100 people taking part.

Councillors will now try to come up with a list of recommended actions.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said other key suggestions included making it compulsory for businesses to report on what actions they were taking to reduce their carbon footprint, enforcing higher environmental standards for new-builds, and incorporating more tree planting into new housing developments.

'Proud Geordies'

One of the more radical ideas put forward was to allocate school places based strictly on postcode, thereby cutting school run car journeys across the city.

Catherine Weare, of the Space for Gosforth campaign group, said that a cheap and simple measure would be to install bollards to block cars from residential areas - allowing children to walk or cycle safely to school.

The Green Party's Taymar Pitman said the summit demonstrated a commitment across Newcastle to help make the city greener but expressed concern that there was "much emphasis on needing to preserve economic growth, potentially at all costs, and not upset business and industry too much".

At a council climate change committee meeting after the summit, councillor Gareth Kane called on the authority to "appeal to people's civic pride" in order to get residents on board with the environmental agenda.

He said: "Instead of saying 'do this because your children will fry', we should be telling people to do this because we are proud Geordies."

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