Update: BAME Magistrate recruitment

Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Carole Johnson, Labour Councillor for Ashley ward and Deputy Bench Chairman for the Avon and Somerset Magistrates Bench.

Magistrates play a crucial role in our criminal justice system, hearing cases in criminal or family court. As Justices of the Peace, we are sworn in to do right to all manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill will.

In 2016, out of 621 Magistrates across the region, just 20 identified as Black and only 11 identified as Asian: a huge under-representation. In 2018, I was delighted to be appointed as the first Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic (BAME) Deputy Chairman for Avon and Somerset Magistrates, one of seven deputies.

In 2018, we succeeded in recruiting 33 new Magistrates of whom 11 were from BAME backgrounds. And, as a sitting magistrate of Jamaican descent, I am delighted to announce that two new Deputy Bench Chairmen for Avon and Somerset have been appointed – both of whom from a BAME background. They will officially take up their posts from 1 April 2021 and, for the first time ever, three of the seven Deputy Bench Chairmen will be BAME.

Sometimes sitting for 30 years, dispensing justice, deciding how people are sentenced and whether children are taken into care, Magistrates are beginning to look like the communities we serve. Our criminal justice system is all the better for the intervention. After all, to achieve equality in the dispensing of justice, there is a need to ensure there is equality within the ranks of those involved in law and order.

These achievements have been possible thanks to the BAME Recruitment Programme with judiciary and Bristol City Council, including Mayor Marvin Rees and Councillor Asher Craig, working in partnership to address the shortage of BAME Magistrates in the region. I want to thank Marvin and Asher for their support, and everyone who has taken the opportunity to step up to serve.

Before our interventions it had taken decades to appoint 31 BAME Magistrates, and in just a few years we have already added another 11 – including in positions of leadership. It is well established that more diverse teams can perform better, so I am full of renewed hope that our Magistracy can continue to improve in 2021. As we continue to diversify, it is time for other strands of the criminal justice system to follow suit and take action to address other equality gaps, and work together proactively to deliver.

Courts across Avon and Somerset are currently recruiting people to become Family Court Magistrates. So, are you between 18-65 and looking for a volunteering role that really makes a difference? Could you be a Family Court Magistrate?

Family Courts are looking for volunteers to play their part in helping to make the lives of children better. Typical work of the Family Court includes child protection cases and where separated parents cannot agree on arrangements for their children. You don’t need a detailed knowledge of the law, but an ability to apply common sense, empathy and compassion is paramount in the Family Court, where the focus is on the welfare and safety of children. Find out more and apply now at gov.uk/become-magistrate. Applications opened 1 February 2021 and close 28 March 2021.

Screen Safer

This guest blog comes from Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills.

For many families, access to the internet has been a vital way of keeping children connected to their school and their friends, keeping their learning on track from home, and keeping the whole family entertained while we’ve remained at home. As a class teacher, Zoom and Microsoft Teams have helped me check in with pupils who are learning from home, and to allow them to keep in contact with the children who are attending school in person.

The internet has also been invaluable for sending and hosting resources for children in my class to learn remotely, as well as allowing them to research new ideas and topics to enrich their education and develop and hone new skills.

But while the internet has become a central part of learning in the current context of lockdown, I also know that many parents and carers want to make sure that their children are accessing content that is appropriate and enriching. Many of you may want to know more about how to keep track of what your children access on the internet, and how they can better learn to separate fact from fiction in what they encounter online.

As today is Safer Internet Day, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some tips about how we can help children understand and evaluate what they read and see online, and how we can protect children from harmful content on the Internet.

  • Communication is key to helping children understand how to use technology safely. Talking regularly about what sites they visit, who they follow and interact with, and what stories or articles they have read or shared can help open up conversations about the best way to use the internet and social media. The UK Safer Internet Centre has a set of ‘conversation starters’ to help explore these issues with children.
  • Setting a good example by not sharing stories that look fake, and talking to your children about how you question and evaluate online content can teach them the importance of not spreading disinformation and understanding how to check stories they may encounter online.
  • Check in with children about what they’re seeing online and how what they see makes them feel. It’s easy for all of us to feel bombarded by bad news or confusing content – particularly in the current context. Checking in and reassuring children that they can talk to you about things that upset them can help you feel confident that they’re navigating life online safely and healthily.

The Safer Internet Centre have produced a quiz for children aged 8-13 to help them understand how to separate fact from fiction, and who they can trust online. More support is also available from Childnet International, including advice about how you can report harmful online content, and how you can set up parental controls through your internet provider.

We have also produced challenges, activities and resources to help keep children in Bristol learning and occupied during this time on the We Are Bristol kids website. It includes a Stay At Home Activity Pack, a quiz on Bristol, and even a recipe from Briony from the Great British Bake Off!

The Kids Are Alright

This guest blog comes from Councillor Helen Godwin, Cabinet member for Women, Families and Homes.

Our city’s children are our greatest asset. They are our future leaders, teachers, health workers and carers. They have a huge role to play in how we develop as a city. Today, we take another step towards meaningfully engaging young people in their future with the formation of the One City Children’s and Young People’s Board, which will give them a platform to share their ideas and concerns, as well as develop solutions that work for them.

We know that too many of our children and young people feel let down by the systems that are meant to support them. As a city our educational outcomes are not good enough – there are children and young people missing huge swathes of their education because a culture of exclusion has developed and gone unchallenged. We have managed to keep our children’s centres open in the face of years of austerity, but community and family services can still be difficult to access, reducing opportunities for early intervention with vulnerable young people. Child poverty continues to blemish our city aspirations, with too many children going to bed hungry.  The pandemic has shone a light on the glaring inequalities of our city and the disproportionate impact it is having on vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people.

On the face of it, it sounds bleak, but scratch beneath the doom and gloom and there are some amazing things happening in Bristol. Our children and young people have shown that they are resilient, adaptable, and caring in the face of unprecedented loss and change caused by the pandemic. They are informed about key international issues like climate change and racial inequality. They are switched on with new forms of technology and are bubbling with creative ideas and solutions.

It is our job as leaders in Bristol to harness and focus this amazing resource drive the change we need to see if we are to be the outward facing, hopeful and sustainable city we aspire to.

We know that many children and young people feel disenfranchised when it comes to decision making. Promises have been broken and trust has been eroded by politicians and leaders in the past. Rebuilding this trust is fundamental to engaging young people in meaningful collaboration.

That’s why we’re launching a new Belonging Strategy that will provide a step in the right direction to build these relationships and place the voice of the child at the centre of our decision making. Overseeing this work will be the One City Children and Young People’s board.  Its role will be to act as a speaker to amplify the voices of children and young people and ensure their voices are a fundamental part of Bristol’s strategic planning and decision making.

Working with the City Office and being involved in shaping our One City Plan will provide an opportunity for our young people to think long term and define the type of future they want as adults.  

This Board is here for our children and young people to allow them to hold partners to account on decisions that matter most to them. But it also allows us to tap into the energy, ideas and perspectives of our city’s brilliant young people.

I look forward to sharing more as the new board members settle in. I, for one, can’t wait to see how they got on.

Surge testing update

Today’s blog is brought to you by Christina Gray, Director of Public Health at Bristol City Council and Sara Blackmore, Director of Public Health at South Gloucestershire Council.   

Three new mobile testing sites opened over the weekend to begin the asymptomatic testing of residents living in 24 postcode areas across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. These sites form part of the first phase of a new additional community (surge) testing programme designed to further understand changes in some cases of the virus. Viruses change frequently, and it is important that we continue to understand this. The testing will also help to find more positive cases and break chains of transmission, through isolation. 

Two days into this new programme and we have already seen a huge response from residents with thousands of people visiting the three sites for a test. We thank the staff who worked tirelessly this weekend to open these sites in record time and the people who have stepped forward for a test already. We urge others to do their bit to help us better understand the local situation and take a test before this two-week programme ends.   

Over the next week we will be developing more local options for those who can’t make it to a testing centre.    

Starting tomorrow (Tuesday 9 February) we will open five ‘Collect and Drop’ sites situated within libraries across Bristol and three in South Gloucestershire. These eight local sites will be points where people can collect tests for themselves, members of their family or for someone they know who is not able to leave the home. Instructions will be provided with each testing kit and all those collecting kits will be asked to return them to where they picked theirs up.   

The eight Collect and Drop sites will be found at:   

  • Fishponds Library, Robinson House, Hockey’s Ln, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 3HL
  • Henleaze Library, 30 Northumbria Dr, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4HP    
  • Junction 3 Library, 138b Lower Ashley Rd, Easton, Bristol BS5 0FJ    
  • Whitchurch Library, 7 Oatlands Ave, Bristol BS14 0SX    
  • Wick Road Library, Wick Rd, Brislington, Bristol BS4 4HE     
  • Downend Library, BS16 5TW    
  • Emerson Green Library, BS16 7AP    
  • Staple Hill Library, BS16 5LS   

No booking is needed to visit a Collect and Drop site and they are open for anyone aged over 16 who live in the specified postcode areas, and do not have symptoms. Once you collect your test, please take it home with you to complete. It’s much safer to do this at home rather than out and about or in your car.   

We’re sure there will be many questions about these tests and this new system, and we will continue to provide as much information as we can through the Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils’ websites.    

You can also visit YouTube to learn how to take a home test by watching an instructional video from the Department of Health and Social Care. 

Changing the behaviour of people who are abusing their partners

Today’s guest blog comes from Rachael Bloomer, a Research Associate on the University of Bristol’s REPROVIDE study, which examines ways of changing the behaviour of men who have been abusive towards their partners.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can contact Next Link in Bristol, or the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. In an emergency, don’t hesitate to call 999.

Are you worried your behaviour is hurting the person you love?

When people think of domestic abuse, they often think of physical violence, but there are lots of forms domestic abuse can take. It can include financial, sexual or emotional forms of coercion, control or abuse.

I work on a study called REPROVIDE at the University of Bristol, which aims to find out what might help men who have been abusive towards their partner to change how they act in current or future relationships. As part of the study, we run a free group programme for men, alongside specialist support for their female partners and ex-partners.

The group sessions run for 23 weeks and are led by experienced facilitators from local domestic abuse specialists Splitz. They combine discussion, support and appropriate challenge. There are two groups in Bristol and six in surrounding areas. We still have spaces available in our groups over the coming months. We need social workers, police, GPs, and other support services to help identify more men to take part. Men can also contact us directly.

Jakub: ‘I want to have a look at what’s going on, so that… I don’t fall into this type of behaviour again’

Could I be eligible?

Men have told us that a barrier to coming forward is that it can be difficult to acknowledge that your behaviour might be hurting someone else, especially someone you love. We understand this. Men who contact us will not be judged.

It’s not always easy to recognise if your behaviour is harmful to others, but here are some of the signs:

  • Do you feel jealous if she meets friends or need to know who her messages are from?
  • Do you call her names, or say humiliating things to her?
  • Have you tried to have a better relationship, but it always ends up in arguments?
  • You might be concerned you’re sometimes unable to control your anger?
  • Do you run the finances and look up where she has been, how much she has spent, and confront her when it’s not done your way?
  • Do you think she, or your children, are sometimes scared of you?
  • Have you reacted in a way you regret if she turns you down sexually?
  • Would other people think you can be controlling?
  • Has the thought of her leaving led you to say or do things to make that more difficult for her?

Roland: ‘Physical violence has not been used…I have thrown things on the floor and refused to leave after an argument on occasions.’

Dean: ‘I make her feel she needs me.’

How does the study work?

REPROVIDE is a ‘randomised controlled trial’ – considered the ‘gold standard’ in health research. We compare outcomes for people who have taken part in the programme, with those who have not. Two thirds of men who enrol will take part in the group programme while their partners or ex-partners will be offered one-to-one support. The other third of men will not join the group programme, but their partners will still be signposted to local support services.

Jane: “It’s one of those things that there isn’t anything really out there [programmes for perpetrators]. And to have the opportunity to be a part of this [study] is incredible.”

As a recognised urgent public health study, group meetings have been able to continue during lockdown and the programme will continue through the pandemic. All the groups adhere to safe practices regarding infection control.

If you have a question or are worried about your behaviour, please get in touch with us: reprovide-men@bristol.ac.uk, 07976225462, or visit our website.

You can also contact the national RESPECT helpline on 0808 8024040.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can contact Next Link in Bristol, or the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. In an emergency, don’t hesitate to call 999.

If you are a professional and would like to refer someone or you can help us promote REPROVIDE, please get in touch.

Vaccinate Bristol, Vaccinate Britain

Today’s guest blog is from Johanet Sloan, a registered nurse and manager of Brunelcare’s Orchard Grove reablement centre in Redfield. Johanet is kindly sharing her personal experience of COVID-19, and as keyworker, has received both of her covid-19 jabs. Johanet first shared her story on Brunelcare’s website.

In October, I tested positive for COVID-19 and developed severe symptoms over the few weeks that followed.

At first I felt a little under the weather, then as things developed I couldn’t eat or drink much, I felt nauseous, experienced a loss of taste but I continued to muddle along. Within a week I felt very unwell, I had laboured breathing so I called an ambulance.

I was taken to Southmead hospital and stayed there for a week, getting oxygen to aid my recovery. It was a very scary experience. As a nurse I know when things aren’t going very well so I knew something wasn’t right. I was moved to the respiratory ward and was put on oxygen to help my breathing and fluids as I was dehydrated. I was looked after exceptionally well by the hospital team during my stay.

Thankfully, I made a full recovery, returning to work fully in January. On my first day back at Orchard Grove, the team surprised me by lining the entrance of the building and decorating the centre with banners and pictures and even gave me flowers. I wasn’t expecting it at all, it was so lovely to be welcomed back by the team!

In early December, with other employees at Brunelcare, I was among the first in the whole world received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. I have since received my second injection and think getting the vaccine is so important for everyone. Before Christmas, our residents began receiving the vaccine and the roll out continues to all residents, tenants, and fellow employees.

When I knew the vaccine was available for healthcare workers, I jumped at the chance to have it. Looking back at the experience I had with Covid, I wouldn’t want any of the people we care for, or my colleagues, to go through what I did. It was very debilitating. It’s important to have the vaccine not just to protect myself, but Orchard Grove’s guests, my colleagues and my family.

The process of receiving the vaccine didn’t take long at all. It went really smoothly, the staff explained everything clearly and we were encouraged to ask any questions. They provide you with plenty of information and monitor you afterwards.

The vaccine has brought hope. Everyone wants to get rid of this virus and the more people that take up the vaccine the quicker we can get back to normality. I also think it’s really important for members of the BAME community to have the vaccine as they are at higher risk of developing more serious symptoms.

I know we’re still living through a challenging time, but I believe that thanks to this vaccine there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope.

Time to Talk about children’s mental health

Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Helen Godwin, Cabinet Member for Families, Women, and Homes.

Today’s Time to Talk Day and this week’s Children’s Mental Health Week come at a time when health, wellbeing, and children are at the top of the national conversation like never before, due to the pandemic and its impact on schools. In Bristol, for Marvin’s administration, these issues have always been at the forefront of our agenda.

A year is a long time in anyone’s life, but for our youngest citizens even more so. My six year old son told me innocently this week that he barely remembers life before covid-19. It’s heart-breaking for us as parents, carers and grandparents that our young people have experienced so many months of uncertainty, restrictions, and, in many cases, fear and anxiety.  

In 2016, we pledged to ensure that there was Mental Health education in all primary schools in Bristol, we are delighted that the Jigsaw programme has been implemented in 113 of our primary schools (almost 100%). While primary schools are working in partnership as one of the country’s Relationships, Sex, and Health Education (RSHE) hubs, secondaries are also moving forward with Bristol Healthy Schools’ Mental Health accreditations – giving further access to resources that help them to share their feelings, build confidence and resilience and to be proud of and love who they are. We want all of Bristol’s children to feel safe and cared for both at home and in the wider city, and to know that if they need help or support we have the structures in place to step in. 

Covid-19 risks leaving the UK in an all-age mental health crisis, and now is the time to plan and resource the services that will be needed. We know children are reporting increased levels of anxiety, eating disorders are rising, and even some of our youngest children are reporting feeling down or lonely. 

Children need to be at school for their education, but they also need the safe space of their  schools to share their stories, play, exercise, learn to socialise, and learn to cope with a bad day. With a return to school still at least a month away, the phenomenal resilience of our children and young people is only set to be further tested. For some our teenagers this lockdown has taken their fragile plans further off course. A lack of clarity about exams and assessments means that deeply considered  future plans for apprenticeships, degree courses or training hang in the balance.

Children’s Mental Health week gives us an opportunity to stop, pause and reflect and perhaps step away from the screen and spend some time with our young people; talking, walking and being in nature – as needed for us as them after the longest January on record. It also gives us the opportunity to demand better mental health services for those young people who will need extra support.

Children’s Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have been woefully underfunded for years and organisations which support young people before they need CAMHS are struggling to survive. This week Marvin and I will write to Vicky Ford MP, the Children’s Minister, calling for a Children’s Well-being Fund to be set up as part of the covid-19 recovery plan to ensure that all children that need extra help and support for their mental health can access it, after this most testing of years.  

Our children deserve to thrive and Bristol needs national Government to match our commitment to them. 

Beira hit by Cyclone Eloise

Beira, Mozambique’s second city, after being hit by Cyclone Eloise. Photo credit: BBC/EPA.

In today’s blog I want to raise awareness of and ask you to join me in showing solidarity with our Mozambican twin city who are experiencing yet another cyclone likely due to the drastic impact of climate change

It was with a heavy heart that I followed the weather map path of Cyclone Eloise as it made its way to Beira, our Mozambican twin city on the 23rd January. The messages coming through from my friend Mayor Simango spoke of roofs blown off, walls down, windows out, electricity lines down, 100mph winds, 300mm of rainfall in 24 hours, and so it went on. The Mayor’s team and relief agencies moved thousands of Beira residents into stronger buildings such as schools, as the huge purpose-built drainage channels overflowed and the flood basins filled up, no chance of pumping the water out to sea for days due to the storm surges in the tide. Sadly six people lost their lives, mainly due to falling rubble.

As the cyclone and subsequent rainfall moved far inland, a picture emerged of over 7,500 Beira citizens made homeless and moving into temporary refugee camps. Across the whole trajectory of the cyclone, 262,000 people including 130,000 children were affected and needing humanitarian assistance. 16,700 Mozambicans have lost their homes with 74 health centres and 322 classrooms destroyed. UNICEF and the International Red Cross are on the case and the UK Government has pledged £1 million for the temporary camps. Teams were deployed to Beira before Cyclone Eloise hit and are now distributing prepositioned basic household and hygiene items, water purification kits, tarpaulins and medicine for up to 20,000 people in the city and province. The potential outbreak of waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and cholera is a major concern in flooded areas. The British High Commission in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, reported that a UK humanitarian team is on the ground in Beira involving support from the University of Bristol.

“Beira is a cyclone corridor”, said Mayor Simango, “and we are still recovering from Cyclone Idai from March 2019. “Part of our recovery has included the construction of designated flood plains, basins and drainage channels to take excess water out to sea, combined with community education, which reduced the impact of the 100mph winds of Cyclone Eloise, and the lesser Cyclone Chalane last month. “This time we need the International community along with our Dutch and German government partners to step up and support our Beira plan for a flood mitigation infrastructure programme.”

This is another tragic reminder of the devastating effects that the Climate Emergency has on the world’s poorest countries and those least responsible for causing it.

I have also taken up a position representing the UK on the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth local Government Forum and I am aiming to contribute to practical proposals for Ccommonwealth cities (including in Mozambique) to work with national governments to put in place governance and finance to be resilient to shocks and disasters such as these. Bristol continues to work with UK Core Cities and other international networks of cities to ensure that the voices of cities are heard as nation states make decisions on targets and actions to tackle climate change.

If you would like to donate to the Bristol Link with Beira for their COVID and Cyclone support work then please go to  https://www.gofundme.com/f/bristol-beira-covid19-appeal

And if you would like to get involved with their longer term work check out their website https://bristolbeiralink.org/ and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bristolbeiralink/

Why I’m a CAT person

As part of this week’s One Week, One Minute challenge, in sixty seconds, I shared just some of what we’ve delivered for Bristol. One such achievement has been how our administration is empowering more communities by giving them the chance to own and run their own assets, like adventure playgrounds and swimming pools.

Through Community Asset Transfers (CATs) and concessionary lettings, we are giving an annual £1.6 million hand-up to those giving a helping hand to their communities and our city. Bristol now has more than 120 sites which are let to voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations, all at less than market value for enormous community benefit. Through discounted and ‘peppercorn’ rents, council-owned buildings and land are operated and maintained by local organisations.

Some leases date from the 1950s, while others are much newer. We always know that whenever new land or a building is made available, demand will far outstrip supply from Bristol’s incredible third sector, many of whom have been at the heart of supporting Bristolians throughout the pandemic.

While there are too many to mention in one minute or one blog, we are proud to be working with organisations ranging from scout groups and girl guides to the SS Great Britain and community centres, and I wanted to take the time to highlight a few:

Felix Road Adventure Playground continues to go from strength to strength, with a new nursery now open on site under the Eastside Community Trust. Nearby, Empire Fighting Chance boxing gym carries on punching well above its weight.

These same is true for Jubilee Hall, the home of Skemer’s Gym; and, after a judge backed the council as we work to find a new operator for Hartcliffe Community Farm, in the next month we hope to confirm the community partner who can help another south Bristol site realise its potential. After a cabinet paper in March, the same could well be true for Jubilee Pool.

Over in Eastville, the library closed on Muller Road by my predecessor is a shining example of how a community can build back better. So too for St George Community Association, which has exciting ideas for the future of their community centre just off Church Road.

Up the north of the city, Ambition Lawrence Weston has secured planning permission for a wind turbine to help power its future. Henbury & Brentry Community Centre is also seeing real success, while Avonmouth Community Centre’s new thirty year CAT lease has resulted in major improvements and the co-location of the library.

We are proud to be working with fellow Bristolians to build a better Bristol – putting communities in control of their future.

Clean Air for Bristol

Annually, between 28,000 and 36,000 people die as a result of toxic air pollution in the UK. In Bristol, that figure is estimated to be around 300. Last month, an inquest found that air pollution was a factor in the heart-breaking death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, who had severe asthma and lived close to London’s South Circular Road. Since Ella’s death, her mother, Rosamund, has become a leading figure in the campaign for clean air.

Last week, I joined Rosamund Kissi-Debrah at a roundtable event hosted by UK100 on air quality and black and ethnic minority communities.  Rosamund spoke powerfully about the disproportionate impact that air pollution  has on these communities.

71% of Bristol residents think air quality and traffic pollution is a problem locally. On a map of deaths attributed to air pollution, there’s a peak in central wards.    Gentrification of central areas complicates and has undeniably helped drive this particular debate up the political agenda. However, other, intersecting issues that adversely impact on minority ethnicity communities are not talked about, such as the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and ethnic minority  and deprived communities.  

In Bristol, like in many other cities, we face the challenge of rapid urbanisation, a growing population, and an economic model that relies on systems that pump out pollution. We also know that transport is a key driver of air pollution in the city.

Our air quality challenges are largely  a result of decades of non-decision and non-investment in public transport. This neglect has also seen little meaningful alternative to the private car and we remain the only Core City without mass transit.   We continue to work towards introducing a low-carbon, mass transit system that will transform the way our citizens move around.

League tables that show which cities have done ‘the best’ in terms of reducing pollution are of very limited value as no two cities are alike.  Most of the cities that have done well, however, show historic investment in transport in a way Bristol has failed to do. Delivering an effective mass transit system in Bristol could cost around £4bn, a necessary investment to  further accelerate public transport use in our city.   We have also called on government to invest in green infrastructure and to work in genuine partnership with us to deliver viable and meaningful solutions.

We also need to overlap the action we take on air quality with action on social justice. Ensuring that social and environmental justice can go hand-in-hand has been a priority of my administration. We face climate, ecological, and air pollution emergencies – but we do not have the luxury of turning a blind eye to other simultaneous crises affecting our communities. Poor air quality kills, but we know poverty is a killer too. We have been right – every step of the way – to try our utmost to protect low income households from the unintended consequences of steps to clean up our air.

We have worked with Bristolians to try and change behaviours and yet it may be necessary to introduce a charging clean air zone for a time, to accelerate change. While doing so, we will introduce mitigations, such as exemptions for low income workers and financial support for people to change to a cleaner vehicle.   As well as cleaning up car emissions, we must take action to deliver cleaner air.  We are calling for powers to tackle solid fuel burning, industrial pollution, and bring non-mobile construction equipment to compliant standards.

We have a legal and moral duty to reduce pollution to legal levels in the shortest possible time and we will do so.   Government have directed Bristol and other major cities to do this though a Clean Air Zone (CAZ).  We are currently analysing air quality and traffic data. If the data shows that air pollution will return to pre-pandemic levels we will have to submit a case for a CAZ to Government.   A CAZ would need to be introduced by October 2021 and we will advertise mitigations and financial support well in advance.   

We cannot take on the task of delivering clean air alone. We need all of Bristol’s help if we are to protect each other from dangerous pollution and toxic fumes. Go to the Clean Air for Bristol website to find out what we’re doing to improve air quality and how you can help too.

View the UK100 roundtable air quality event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnSviEMm6kQ&feature=youtu.be