What can I do to help to Improve Air Quality?

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All of us that live and work in Ipswich have a responsibility for reducing pollution in the air in our town.

To reduce your own contribution to pollution there are a number of things you can do.

Vehicle emissions are by far the worst contributor to air pollution in Ipswich, so there are some really simple things you can do to help improve this;

  • You could drive less often.
  • Try car sharing. Do you know a colleague that lives nearby? Share your commute with them a few days per week. Or join a car sharing club. When it comes to reducing air pollution, a mile shared is a mile halved!
  • Choose to walk short journeys instead of driving. Need to pick something up from local the local shop? Instead of taking the car, take a short walk. It’s better for your fitness and for the air in your community.
  • Turn off your engine when stuck in traffic or waiting. If you think you’ll be stationary for more than a minute or so it’s better to switch your engine off.
  • Drive shorter journeys by taking the Park and Ride. Heading into the town centre? Try the Park and Ride instead. You’ll never need to worry about an expired ticket ever again.
  • Drive more efficiently. By driving more efficiently and maximising your average MPG as much as possible, you’ll reduce your emissions and need to fill up less often! Check your tyre pressure and oil regularly.
  • Try cycling. It is beneficial for your mental and physical health and can save you fuel costs.
  • Consider switching to an electric vehicle (EV). As an incentive to encourage take up of these vehicles Ipswich Borough Council currently offers free (EV) charging in car parks which have EV charging points. A map of our car parks, detailing which ones have EV charging points
  • Stop idling. Did you know that idling is bad for your health, your wallet and for air quality in your community. Visit our page on idling to find out more.

The UK population spends up to 90% of its time indoors which means that the air we are most exposed to is inside our buildings. Air pollution inside our buildings can come from many indoor sources, as well as from outside.

There are also lots of easy things you can do in the home to help keep the air cleaner;

  • Keep your kitchen smoke free - When you are cooking, try to keep lids on pots whenever you can. This will reduce the amount of energy needed to cook and reduce the amount of pollution from your hob. It will also reduce the amount of moisture getting into the air, which can help to avoid mould. When you can, open your windows or use extractor fans when you are cooking to keep pollution levels lower, especially if you have burned the toast!
  • Regularly service your boiler - Make sure your boiler is serviced each year to help keep it burning fuel cleanly. This should be carried out by a professional Gas Safe engineer. This will reduce pollution being emitted from the boiler flu and prevent Carbon Monoxide from being created and builidng up inside your house. It will also make sure that your boiler isn’t wasting fuel (and money).
  • If possible, avoid using an open fire or wood burning stove - Open fires and wood-burning stoves have risen in popularity in recent years, however many people are unaware that smoke from burning causes harmful air pollution. Visit our page on domestic burning to find out more.
  • Check the labels on products - Take care when using cleaning products, aerosols, household sprays, paints and other consumer products. Always read product labels and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommended quantities for use. If you have to use these products indoors consider ways you could improve ventilation – such as opening the window or doors. When possible, try to use low emission products (sometimes labelled low VOC) and consider storing them in a shed or garage.

When buying new items for your home such as furniture, fittings and flooring look for low emitting products. Consider asking the supplier for information on emissions and pollutants.

  • Make the most out of fresh air - Opening windows when you are cooking or cleaning can be a very good way to stop air pollution building up inside your house. It allows fresh air in and stops the concentration of pollution from getting too high.

Sometimes, if your home is near a busy road, air pollution from traffic can get into your house from the outside.

If you are worried about the levels of pollution near your home, think about which windows you open, and try to open those that are furthest away from the roads rather than those that are closest to the roads. Try to close your windows during rush hour when the outdoor air pollution is at its worst.

To help prevent mould use trickle vents (found on some windows) and extractor fans or open the window (if possible and safe). You can help avoid moisture by drying clothes outdoors, repairing water leaks/damage and using extractor fans or opening windows (if possible and safe), when bathing and showering.

  • Measures to reduce exposure to allergens - People with respiratory allergies (such as asthma and rhinitis) will benefit if steps are taken to reduce their exposure to allergens, such as house dust mites, mould and pets. Measures that can help include:
  • Reducing dust and dampness in the home
  • Regularly cleaning items which collect dust such as soft toys
  • Vacuuming regularly
  • If you’re renovating or moving to a new house, try to replace carpets with hard flooring
  • Washing bedding and covers (at 60C every two weeks), or using allergen-impermeable covers
  • Avoid exposure to furry pets if possible or vacuum regularly if exposed to pet hair at home

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Contact Details

Environmental Health,
Ipswich Borough Council,
3W Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,