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East Herts Council backs new air pollution warning app for residents

Cllr Graham McAndrew (7626288)
Cllr Graham McAndrew (7626288)

A new service warns Bishop’s Stortford residents when air pollution increases.

East Herts Council, along with other local authorities in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire and supplier Ricardo Energy and Environment, has signed up to the initiative, which sends a text or email alert straight to a mobile phone.

It aims to help residents whose health could be especially at risk, including those with respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchitis.

The warnings are sent out before moderate, high or very high levels of air pollution are forecast. It is free to sign up.

A website also provides at-a-glance air quality information for Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Coloured markers on a map pinpoint exact areas and provide an immediate pollution summary ranging from one to ten.

Cllr Graham McAndrew, East Herts Council’s executive member for environment and the public space, said: “This alert system is quick and easy to use. It’s a brilliant example of how technology can help us better understand air pollution levels in the locality, providing information to help each of us decide what we can do to tackle the problem.”

Herts County Council’s cabinet member for public health and prevention, Cllr Tim Hutchings, said: “Poor air quality affects everyone, but especially the most vulnerable in our communities such as the very young, older people and those with existing health conditions.

“It’s a difficult problem to solve and we all need to take responsibility to make things better.

“I am delighted to support this initiative. It will provide an early warning service which will help people minimise the effects on their health during periods of poor air quality."

The launch of the new service coincides with the Clean Air Strategy, which was published by the Government earlier this year. The strategy looks to local authorities to reduce air pollution and provide alerts.

To sign up, go to www.airqualityengland.co.uk/local-authority.

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