Air quality summit to examine pollution problems across Suffolk

Combustion fumes coming out of car exhaust pipe

Experts are to attend a summit in January as part of work to improve air quality across Suffolk - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

National and local speakers will address a summit being staged to crackdown on the harmful effects of air pollution in Suffolk.

Public leaders will convene on January 28 to discuss the state of air quality countywide, and measures to help improve the situation.

Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said: “The aim is to introduce what air quality might mean in terms of how it might be relevant to the quality across Suffolk, it is going to look at what roles we all have nationally, as a county, locally as districts, borough and individuals, and there will be guest speakers on a panel discussion.

“It’s the start of a journey. All of this will feed back into the Health and Wellbeing Board, and it will help to inform us as we start rolling forward that wider piece of work.

Matthew Hicks, chair of the mid-Suffolk development control committee

Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks - Credit: GREGG BROWN

“This is clearly a long term priority for public health looking at air quality, and the summit will raise the awareness of air quality to us all.”

Suffolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board – a gathering of council, health service and police leaders – in July pledged to improve air quality in the county and help combat the harmful affects of air pollution.

A report for the board in the summer said: “Air pollution causes diseases of the heart and lungs, contributes to poor public health, shortens life and is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer.

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“There is also often a strong correlation with inequalities, as areas with poor air quality are also often less affluent. Air pollution is harmful for human health at all levels, even when levels fall below the legal limits.

“However, there is limited knowledge across the population of its harmful effects and measures that can be taken individually and across sectors to improve air quality.

“Therefore, it is not only important to improve air quality overall but also to improve population knowledge and data knowledge on the scale of the problem and the various measures that can be put in place to support the improvement of air quality across Suffolk.”

More details of the summit are set to be announced in the coming weeks.