WE’RE all conscious of cleaning up our act.

Air pollution is one of the biggest threats to public health in the UK and the measures set out in the Clean Air Strategy will cut the costs of air pollution to society by £1.7 billion every year by 2020, rising to £5.3 billion every year from 2030.

Positive moves are already being put in place such as plans to end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040, and encouragement for motorists to switch to electric.

Following the strategy’s launch by Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, the UK will set a long-term target to reduce people’s exposure to particulate matter (PM), which the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified as the most damaging pollutant. To inform development of this new target, the government will publish evidence early this year on what action would be needed to meet WHO guidelines.

This comes on top of a commitment to halve the number of people living in areas breaching WHO guidelines on PM by 2025. The UK is the first major economy to adopt air quality goals based on WHO recommendations, going far beyond EU requirements.

“The evidence is clear. While air quality has improved significantly in recent years, air pollution continues to shorten lives, harm our children and reduce quality of life,” says Mr Gove.

“We must take strong, urgent action. Our ambitious strategy includes new targets, new powers for local government and confirms that our forthcoming Environment Bill will include new primary legislation on air quality.

“While air pollution may conjure images of traffic jams and exhaust fumes, transport is only one part of the story and the new strategy sets out the important role all of us - across all sectors of work and society - can play in reducing emissions and cleaning up our air to protect our health.”

Domestic burning on stoves and open fires is now the single biggest source of particulate matter. Part of the new strategy introduces new legislation prohibiting the sale of the most polluting fuels and ensuring only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022.

Phil Pickard, at Medusa Stoves Limited in Baildon, says the stoves they sell are all Defra approved and are compliant. His concern is those who buy cheap stoves online and do their own installations.

Exploring how to give local authorities powers to increase the rate of upgrades of inefficient and polluting heating appliances; bring existing smoke control legislation up to date, and make it easier to enforce, continues.

The strategy also seeks to reduce air pollution from agriculture which is responsible for 88% of ammonia emissions by supporting farmers to invest in infrastructure and equipment to reduce emissions.

Malcolm Fewster, second generation dairy farmer whose family farm is in Gomersal, can see plenty of positives under the new strategy such as better use of nutrients.

Incorporating such as slurry into the soil will benefit plants.”You can utilise all your nutrients better with some of the regulations,” he says.

Bradford Council is looking forward to seeing new powers to help local authorities reduce pollution. In common with many other UK Cities, Bradford has areas of poor air quality in urban centres and near busy roads which is impacting on the health of residents. To help resolve this, the Council was recently directed by the Government to undertake a study seeing how the city can improve air quality over the coming months.

The Government will work with Bradford to develop a local air quality plan setting out how Bradford will meet the legal limits for nitrogen dioxid. Bradford will be looking at a range of interventions for the district.

A final plan must be submitted to Government by October 31 2019 including health impact and economic assessment of the options and an opportunity for Bradford to receive Government funding to help improve air quality and health in the City.

“We all need to understand and take responsibility for the implications that air pollution has not only on the environment but also how it affects our health, especially on young children, the elderly and people with heart and lung problems,” says a Bradford Council spokesman.

“We are really pleased that we are in a position where we will be planning ahead to try and alleviate the issue of air pollution in every way we can in Bradford and hopefully the health burden of air pollution can be reduced.”