24 April 2017,

Dear West Midlands mayoral candidates

Air pollution is affecting the health of people right here in the West Midlands, from the womb to old age. It also affects the youngest, the oldest and the poorest most. It is linked to premature births and stunted lung growth in children and a real risk for those with a heart or lung condition, increasing the chance of being hospitalised or dying from an attack. In the West Midlands alone, it is estimated that 375,800 people have cardiovascular disease and 268,400 people have asthma.

From Wolverhampton to Coventry, legal limits of air pollution are broken in every single local authority in the West Midlands. But, it doesn’t have to be like this. We have the technology and the tools to clean our air. Now we need our leaders to act.

We ask you, as our potential future mayor, to put the health of our communities first. Please use all your new powers and influence to ensure the West Midlands meets legal limits for air pollution as soon as possible and no later than 2020. Clean Air Zones can take the dirtiest vehicles out of the most polluted places and should be supported by action and investment to help more of us use public transport, walk and cycle. This will make our road transport network cleaner, safer and more efficient.

Dealing with this public health problem is also an opportunity to create jobs and update our economy by developing clean technology and industry. Will you join other leaders throughout the country in calling on the Government to introduce a new Clean Air Act for the 21 st Century, enshrining the right to breathe clean air into UK law and ensuring the UK becomes a world leader in clean technology solutions?

Our region needs a strong leader with a strong vision. You can create a vision for a healthier, sustainable and prosperous West Midlands and, if you do, we will be here to help you achieve it.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Gray
Service Development Manager, Midlands, British Lung Foundation

Dr Alan Taylor
Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Management and Service Development, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Coventry University

Dr Louise Sewell
Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Coventry University

Dymphna Medlock
Respiratory Clinical Nurse Specialist, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire

Claire Morrissey
Solutions & Development Manager, Wolverhampton CCG

Steve Barlow
Health Protection Lead Practitioner, Public Health Wolverhampton City Council

Dr Arvind Rajasekaran
Consultant Respiratory Physician, Sandwell And West Birmingham NHS Hospitals Trust

Dr Zongbo Shi
Lecturer in Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham

Professor Roy Harrison OBE
Professor of Environmental Health, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham

Dr Alice Turner
Director of R&D and Honorary Consultant Respiratory Physician, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Juana-Mari Delgado Saborit
Lecturer in Environmental Health, University of Birmingham

John Davison
Acting Chair, Living Streets Birmingham

Kamran Fazil
Chair, Footsteps

Chris Crean
Campaigner, Friends of the Earth West Midlands

Karen Leach
Joint Co-ordinator, Localise West Midlands

Anna Bright
Chief Executive, Sustainability West Midlands

Kevin Chapman
Chair, West Midlands Campaign for Better Transport

Fran Elder
Co-ordinator, Birmingham 20’s Plenty

Chris Terrell
Chair, Wolves on Wheels Cycle Campaign Group

David Cox
Chair, Bike West Midlands Network

Chris Lowe
Chair, Push Bikes – The Birmingham Cycle Campaign

Georgia Stokes
Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country

Supported by:

Penny Woods
CEO, British Lung Foundation

Stephen Joseph
Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport

James Thornton
CEO, ClientEarth

Paul Tuohy
CEO, Cycling UK

Craig Bennett
CEO, Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland

Robbie Young
Vice-President (Society and Citizenship), National Union of Students

Joe Irvin
CEO, Living Streets

Professor Stephen Holgate
Special Adviser on Air Quality to the Royal College of Physicians, MRC Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology

Xavier Brice
CEO, Sustrans

Leo Murray
Director of Strategy, 10:10 Climate Action

Danielle Paffard
UK Divestment Campaigner, 350