On the 17th of August, we co-hosted our Breathe in Brighton Anti-Idling Campaign launch event with Brighton Peace and Environment Centre, which turned out to be a great success. The event aimed to attract a range of local people eager to learn about how they can tackle local air pollution through daily actions, and work collaboratively to seek viable solutions to combat engine idling.

The evening was split between short presentations from local representatives on the issue of local air pollution, followed by the opportunity for like-minded individuals to network with each other and try to identify new ideas for the future. The event brought together a diverse group of people from many backgrounds, all keen to ensure a cleaner Brighton and Hove for all.

For those who were unable to attend the event, it can be summarised as followed: The event aimed to have an inclusive range of representatives in order to engage the public with a variety of different ideas on how we can approach the issue of local air pollution in the future. Speakers came from a range of backgrounds: Tom Druitt, CEO of The Big Lemon, Elaine Hills, a Green Party Councillor, Patrick Warner, Head of Innovation and Strategy from Brighton and Hove Buses and Duncan Blinkhorn Operations Manager of the Brighton Bike Share Scheme.

A range of topics were therefore addressed. Elaine Hills gave a thought-provoking insight into how idling impacts those most vulnerable in society, particularly children, and the devastating impact this can have on their physical development. Alternatively, Tom Druitt gave an encouraging discussion on how we can collectively work together to tackle the issue of idling, with an insight into the role of The Big Lemon buses in providing a cleaner public transport service option for local individuals.

Patrick Warner, additionally discussed the role of Brighton and Hove buses in the transition to a sustainable future. This includes a new vision for future Brighton and Hove city buses to introduce an increasing number of hybrid electric buses, operating in both diesel and electric modes. As an alternative mode of transport, Duncan Blinkhorn gave an insight into the community feeling of cycling, and the environmental benefits this also provides.

The range of speakers from varied backgrounds ensured discussions about the responsibility of local businesses, politicians and the individual, and therefore how we should hold both ourselves and others accountable for local air quality standards.

We were impressed with the level of engagement speakers had with attendees, as presentations were followed with an abundance of vast questions, ranging from the laws surrounding idling and how they can be most efficiently enforced, to how to approach other members of the public in a non-confrontational manner when asking them to stop idling. The evening opened up a relaxed public discussion, where many concerns and ideas were brought to light.

The event left an air of optimism for many, after the broad discussion from such a vast number of committed and passionate individuals. Breathe in Brighton is intending to host a similar Green drinks event in the following months in order to continue the positive discussion amongst individuals, and to focus on creating a community coalition that can work towards identifying viable solutions for the future of Brighton and Hove’s air quality.

Natalie Cleverly
Breathe in Brighton Intern on behalf of the University of Exeter

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