Tyneside (Newcastle-Gateshead) Clean Air Zone ride
It is well documented that air pollution is one of the biggest determinants of health and the effects of air pollution disproportionately affect those most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society - including the young, the old and those with existing health problems.
Clean Air and Low Emission Zones in other cities are already being shown tohave beneficial effects. Ride For Their Lives (RFTL) joined forces with Climate Action Newcastle (CAN) to organise a walk and bike ride on Saturday, 28 January 2023 to celebrate the launch of the Tyneside (Newcastle-Gateshead) Clean Air Zone (CAZ) on Monday 30 January.
Cyclists and walkers including those from Climate Action Newcastle gathered at the “Three Figures” statues at Northumbria University. On a chilly morning in light drizzle they chatted amongst the groups, and with supporters, including Cabinet member Councillor Jane Byrne, who leads the
Newcastle City Council’s approach to environment and transport priorities,
before setting off in opposite directions.
The cycle route followed the perimeter of the clean air zone as closely as possible, pausing for photos outside the iconic Great North Childrens’ Hospital, St James’ Park and the Tyne bridges on the Quayside. The sun came out for the second half of the ride back to Northumbria University before the cyclists headed off for a well-earned cup of tea.
RFTL ride co-ordinator Heather Lambert said “ As health workers and scientists we want to show our support for the Clean Air Zone and for Newcastle Council in tackling air pollution in Newcastle. We hope this is just a start, and encourage the Council to make the changes necessary to create cleaner greener safer neighbourhoods for the people of Newcastle. What many people don’t realise is that air pollution has such a bad effect on health at all ages including even before children are born. Air pollution causes increased rates of asthma and respiratory illnesses and affects many organs of the body, contributing to the death of more people than Covid”