NATIONAL CLEAN AIR DAY 17TH JUNE 21…

National Clean Air Day is on the 21st June, 2021. Let’s protect our children’s health from air pollution this #CleanAirDay on 17 June 2021.

Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.  The World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today. Poor air quality causes heart and lung diseases, is linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development and may even contribute to mental health issues. 

Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign, engaging thousands of people at hundreds of events, and reaching millions more through the media. This year Clean Air Day is taking place on 17 June 2021.

Clean Air Day: 17 June 2021

Led by Global Action Plan, Clean Air Day brings together communities, businesses, schools and the health sector to:

  •  Improve public understanding of air pollution.
  •  Build awareness of how air pollution affects our health.
  •  Explain the easy actions we can all do to tackle air pollution, helping to protect the environment and our health.
  • Global Action Plan, the sustainability charity that co-ordinates Clean Air Day, the UK’s largest campaign on air pollution, launches new resources for the Day on 17 June 2021.
  • This year’s theme ‘protect our children’s health from air pollution’ highlights the urgency to safeguard our children’s short- and long-term health from the impacts of air pollution and build a clean air future as we recover from the pandemic.
  • The campaign is aiming to harness the ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to support top-level and grassroots behaviour change to create a healthy and safe environment for our children to return to.
  • Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution – starting in the womb, it can harm their health, causing or triggering asthma, damaging lung development, and can even affect their ability to learn.

15 April 2021 – Sustainability charity Global Action Plan, which co-ordinates Clean Air Day, today launches this year’s resources ahead of the 17 June campaign. The 2021 resources enable all audiences across the UK from individuals, schools, businesses, health organisations, community groups and local authorities to demonstrate support for action on air pollution and have their say about building a healthy future for our children.

The resources support ‘do and say’ actions in line with this year’s Clean Air Day theme: ‘protect our children’s health from air pollution’. Such actions include grassroots behaviour asks such as going polluting-vehicle free, to supporting high-level council action.

Specific actions include:

  • Individuals – are being asked to go polluting-vehicle free by leaving the car at home and refraining from ordering non-essential, polluting deliveries as well as supporting their local authority’s actions to tackle air pollution to protect children’s health.
  • Schools – are being asked to host assemblies to raise awareness on air pollution, to encourage parents, carers and teachers to leave the car at home and to tell their local council what they want to see happening to tackle air pollution by writing or tweeting them to protect children’s health.
  • Businesses – are being asked to signal their commitment to cleaning up toxic air by assessing and addressing their business impact on air quality and make a public statement outlining their commitment to protect children’s health.
  • Health sector – hospitals and health professionals are being encouraged to host events and use the campaign as an opportunity to share information with patients and staff on the impact of air pollution and how to protect their health. They are also being asked to support local council’s clean air activities by writing or tweeting at them about what they want to see happening to tackle air pollution to protect children’s health. 
  • Local authorities – are being asked to communicate the health risks of air pollution and how to tackle it to schools, residents, businesses and health groups with the need for action and say what they are doing to protect children’s health from air pollution.

This year’s theme ‘protect our children’s health from air pollution’ was selected to highlight the urgency to safeguard our children’s health from the impacts of air pollution as we recover from the pandemic and look to build a clean air future.

Air pollution impacts us all from our first breath to our last, but children are at higher risk to both the short-and longer-term impacts of air pollution. Poor air quality impacts their health, lung development, and even their ability to learn and for the first time, there is evidence that air pollution caused the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah following the recent landmark ruling.

2020 also further saw children bear the burden of COVID-19, impacting their freedom, education and mental wellbeing. As children return to their lives the charity says cleaner air is imperative for them to walk and cycle to school safely and learn and play in healthy spaces.

PANDEMIC EXTENSIONS, MOVE OR IMPROVE YOUR HOME?…

With property value going up throughout the UK and many people now working at least part time from home, the biggest decision to make is, ‘do your move or improve’ your home?

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant many of us have had time on our hands, including my son and his wife who moved close to us in January. They have both said after renting for so many years they want this to be their forever home so it is important they get it how they like.

They put a ‘to do’ list down and included in that list was either a loft extension or kitchen extension. Loft conversions are probably one of the most popular home improvement projects because they are cost affective and are a cheaper way of expanding the size of your home. An extension would be considerably more expensive than a Live in Lofts extension, but you are able to do a lot more with an extension than a loft conversion. Wiring and heating also costs more in an extension, so it’s worth thinking about all the extra costs before you decide how you want to create more space in your home. Kitchen extensions are renowned for going above your original budget so there is a lot to think about when deciding on any type of extension work.

It has been proven to help your mind body and soul that some of the smallest of corners in a quiet area of your home could easily be changed into a reading/relaxing area, so it doesn’t need to be a large extension to give you some yen in your life. This is where a good, local, experienced estate agent, AMS housing Group or chartered surveyor should be able to help. I am addicted to the BBC 2’s programme ‘Your Home Made Perfect’ which helps a couple decide how they want their home made perfect. The kitchen seems to be the big one they all do but some end up going right through the house.

A great book to buy is ‘Mad About The House Planner, Your Home, Your Story’ by Kate Watson-Smyth (Author).

Interiors expert Kate Watson-Smyth brings you the Mad About the House Planner for everything you need to know when renovating your home. With more and more of us working from home and spending more time in the house, it’s more important than ever that our homes are adaptable and welcoming. Packed with Kate’s knowledge and enthusiasm, this journal offers you ways to renovate your home room by room, with a focus on sustainability and money-saving tips. Also included in this handy planner are accounts pages to note down what you’re spending money on – and when – as you renovate, an address book for useful contacts and tradesmen, checklists for all the essentials in each room, grid pages to draw your own floorplans and space to jot down your favourite shops, inspiration and websites. Beautifully packaged with ribbon markers, this is a journal to treasure and keep a record of your home’s journey.

Chapters include:
First Things First
 – planning your home: who will be using the space, when, where and how? Plus tips for the big move-in day
The Entrance Hall – how to create the perfect hallway; stairs, carpets and storage solutions
The Kitchen – planning the space, kitchen appliance tips and how to upscale a cheap kitchen
The Bathroom – where to spend and where to save, carrying your style into the bathroom
The Living Room – making the best use of the space, tips for flooring and rugs; buying vintage and salvaging preloved furniture
The Main Bedroom – reflecting your sleeping habits in your colour scheme, ideal storage and lighting solutions
The Second Bedroom – how to create the perfect nursery or spare room, how to adapt the room as your family grows up
The Third Bedroom – how to create the ideal room for teenagers and guests
The Home Office – working from home is here to stay, so decorate to create the best working environment for you.
Your Home, Your Lists: packed with Kate’s tips for upscaling your home and go-to places, plus space to add your own favourites, make lists and budget sheets.

According to This Is Money a study by Nationwide found that adding an extra double bedroom and ensuite to a three-bedroom house via an extension or loft conversion increased its value by more than 20 per cent.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the average house price in the UK is £245,000 – so a 20 per cent value uplift of £49,000 would more than cover the cost of the average extension. A loft conversion or extension may add 10 to 15 per cent to its value.

Design For Me reminds us that in recent years the government have relaxed planning rules in regards to extensions. The changes have given homeowners more flexibility to improve and increase the value of their homes. Previously, without planning permission, you could add a single-storey extension of up to 3 meters in depth for an attached property and 4m to a detached house, these distances have been doubled.

Design For Me say it is impossible to put an exact figure on this as it varies depending on the type of extension, the house, the location of the property and remember that most statistics are averages and can vary considerably from project to project.

SOME NEW CYLING SAFETY GADGETS…

With more and more of us cycling now, it is important that we look at the safety side of this.

Be safe and be seen is something you need to remember and we need bike lights not just for the shorter days but for the rainy and dull ones. Bookman’s Scandinavian visibility devices are a beautifully designed and sustainable solution.

The lithium ION batteries give lengthy run times and a quick charge via a micro USB cable.

Rechargeable and powerful wearable light clip for visibility and safety in traffic during urban outdoor activities such as running, cycling, walking or other. 

Clips on securely to any bag or garment. Every light is equipped with both white and red LEDs so you can switch between white light for front mount and red light for rear mount. Compact and lightweight size.

Another great find for your bike is the nifty accessory from Kikkerland what will help to keep you safe on the roads. It is essentially a rear-view mirror, which you wear on your wrist and allows you to keep tabs on vehicles and other hazards without having to turn around and look.

The velcro strap makes it easy to pop on and off, and it is also reflective for safer cycling in the dark. Eliminate those Blind Spots! Available from Stanfords.

See Sense Blog wrote about the difference between cycling in the UK to cycling in Denmark which has been par for the core for many years.

Denmark (and more specifically, the two-wheeled loving city of Copenhagen) will always come up trumps as the most bike-friendly region in the world (Wired). 

We think that the main difference between cycling in the UK and in Denmark really comes down to attitudes and culture – the fact that the Danish see cycling in a completely different way than we do here in the UK.

They see it as a means of transport, a human-powered vehicle that can easily take you to work, take the kids to school, to the shops – almost ALL of your day to day journeys. People in Copenhagen live their lives in the saddle.  Cycle superhighways have been a reality for a while now, leading cyclists in and out of the city for miles! It’s totally normal to ride your bike to get around in Denmark. Here in the UK – we just aren’t there yet, are we?

But was Copenhagen always this way? Actually, no! (This is often a very common misconception). The cycling nation of Denmark was due to HUGE investments in cycling, and more importantly, investing and campaigning for cycling to become a means of transport. So lots of hard work really! But we can tend to take it as a given.

Here in the UK, we can tend to think of cycling as more of a sport or competitive activity than thinking of it as a means of transportation. Getting a sweat on, building up those miles, burning off loads of calories (which is still all amazing stuff, by the way!). There is no denying that the car is king here in the UK. However, the good news is that people are actively working to help transform the state of cycling in the UK.

Safety comes first so before you embark on your daily use of your bike make sure you have all the right products to be 100% safe.

Cycle bells do not seem to around as much as they used to but this can be frustrating to a walker on a public path as more often than not they will not hear the cyclist coming along. A great cycle bell from Knog and available on Amazon, Knog’s 01 Classic Bike Bell is as streamlined and minimal as bike bells get, wrapping around the handlebar without protruding or taking up much space at all. Fits bars 22.2mm diameter

Nylon clamp with hex screw to secure bell to your bike. Just pop it over, give it a quick tighten up, and you’re good to go. No sliding down the handlebars, no dismantling and re-assembling.