AIR pollution isn’t something that only happens in a faraway country like China or India, it’s happening right here in Oxford.

Nor is smoky pollution something belonging to a distant past like the London smog of the 1950s or a distant future, like some abstract date of 2030, it’s happening right now.

I care about clean air because everybody in our city has the right to be happy and healthy, yet all the health experts say that dirty air makes people sick.

All we have to do is clean our air and—when the greatest threat from air pollution comes from road transport emissions—that means concentrating our efforts on reducing road transportation and cleaning up whatever vehicles remain on our roads.

On Clean Air Day, we can all do our bit to clean the air that we breathe and stop dirty air leading to dementia, and lung and heart diseases, and some cancers, strokes, and asthma.

Over the last ten years we’ve cut harmful emissions in Oxford by 36.8 per cent, so that the air we breathe today is the cleanest that it’s been in a decade.

We launched a Low Emission Zone in 2014 which required city centre buses to have cleaner engines, which has helped to reduce air pollution.

Just weeks ago we announced an upgraded Zone to cover a larger geographic area and require buses to have even cleaner engines, as part of our Zero Emission Zone.

We’ve also secured £2.3m to ensure a further 115 local buses can meet the tougher standards of our new Zone.

These actions make our air cleaner, but there’s a lot more that we can do to ensure Oxford’s air is not just cleaner, but safer to breathe.

Our proposed Zero Emission Zone aims to discourage polluting vehicles from the centre because we want to reduce the greatest amount of emissions when there is the greatest number of people inhaling them.

We’re listening to our Black Cab drivers by installing electric vehicle charging points for them, so they can meet our goal of driving 100 per cent clean taxis by 2025.

In a healthy democracy, air pollution policy has to deliver something invaluable for businesses and citizens to make better decisions—certainty.

Setting the goal of a Zero Emission Zone has spurred innovation at every level, with Oxford’s first zero emission Black Cab arriving on our roads and the world’s largest hybrid battery coming to Oxford to install 100 rapid charging points and electrify our own fleet.

British ingenuity has kept Oxford at the forefront of science and engineering for centuries, and setting ambitious goals is building British know-how and creating jobs around the UK and inspiring the next generation.

Everyone in the city can make a big difference to the air that we all breathe.

The councillors you elect live among you and breathe the same air, and we’re making the same practical changes as you do to how we get around.

Walking and cycling is cheap and healthy in its own right, but can reduce pollution and our exposure to it.

By using public transport more we can reduce air pollution as well as traffic. And if you have to drive—and, really, some people have to—why not invest in an electric car? There are (surprisingly) reasonably priced second-hand models, and they’re great to drive, cheaper to run and maintain—plus you’ll save on road tax, too.

Forced to fix problems with less money than we truly need, your Council is doing all we can to tackle dirty air for the places and people we hold dear.

We can’t wait for the money and powers we need from Government because every year that action on air pollution is delayed is another year when people die.

That’s why, this Clean Air Day, I want our city to take more of the practical steps that can clean our air, keep Oxford healthy.