MEASURES are being put in place to make residents think green and inject a breath of fresh air into the borough.

For several years, the Basingstoke Clean Air Campaign (BCAC) and Basingstoke Transition Network has made calls for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to introduce more provisions to reduce air pollution in the area.

Now, the borough council is calling on residents to do their bit in a bid to think greener.

So far, the borough council has invested £2 million in a new, greener fleet of service vehicles.

Work is ongoing with Hampshire County Council to develop a new transport strategy aimed at promoting sustainable transport and the borough council has also recently introduced a new taxi licensing scheme which includes a maximum age limit for vehicles.

Cabinet member for regulatory services and the environment at the borough council Councillor Hayley Eachus said: “There’s lots that we are doing as a council to help reduce air pollution.

“But everyone needs to do their bit. Vehicles are the main source of air pollution, so think about how you might be able to use your car less. Could you walk to the shops, take part in a car share, or use public transport more regularly?

“Even pledging to drive just a few miles fewer each week can add up to make a big difference.

“When you need to drive, please think about how you’re driving. Idling contributes to toxic emissions in the air we breathe both inside and outside your car. Simply switching your engine off and on again will help to reduce air pollution.”

The news of the commitment was welcomed by BCAC, calling it a “good first step.”

Former mayor of Basingstoke and Deane and BCAC member, Martin Biermann, said: “It is great to see the council getting its act together over this, and thanks to Cllr Eachus and BDBC for listening to us.

“We have been fighting for cleaner air for a long, long time. This initiative is a good start, but it just that, a good start. We still have enormous ground to catch up.”

Martin Heath, from the Basingstoke Transition Network ,added: “We have been saying to the council for several years now that we need to tackle air pollution in our town.

“We went to see them in January last year and said one of the first things that needs to be done is to build awareness of the issue. The council’s initiative does just that, so well done to them.

“We produced our first report on air pollution in Basingstoke over two years ago. We found five areas in the town with potential illegal levels of air pollution.”

The borough council has introduced measures to encourage drivers to switch to low emission vehicles will also be considered.

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