Hand-stitched lungs presented to Ipswich councillors to highlight air pollution problems
- Credit: Vicky Brett
Campaigners for cleaner air in Ipswich have hand crafted fabric lungs to send to every councillor with responsibility for the town, in an effort to secure long-term change.
The Ipswich Craftivists have stitched 63 lung-shaped creations with messages on them to raise awareness for air pollution and its impact on the town - 63 being the number of early deaths estimated each year in the town from poor air quality, according to the group.
Twenty-two crafters have taken part, and say those creations will be sent to every borough and county councillor who has a responsibility for Ipswich, as well as the town's two MPs.
Sorrell Grove, from the group, said: “One of the delights of creating these lungs is the informality of our collaboration.
“People from all over Ipswich are coming together to get a collective message across to the people who run our town. We need to see change.
"This creative protest aims to persuade local politicians and community leaders to work together in a positive and effective way to improve air quality in the town.
"Everyone involved wants to see Ipswich becoming a healthy, people-centred, thriving, low-pollution town where people feel safe to walk and cycle and where children can flourish."
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Ipswich Borough Council formed an Air Quality Action Plan in 2008, and has a number of areas designated as AQMAs (air quality management areas) - pollution hotspots where nitrogen dioxide levels are monitored because they exceed acceptable levels.
A review of those AQMAs commenced in February, but campaigners have argued that 13 years on from the action plan being put in place there has not been enough movement.
Ipswich Clean Air Network (Ipswich CAN), a collective of individuals, organisations and businesses calling for improved air quality said the borough and county councils needed to work better collaboratively to drive change, and lead a sustained communications campaign to lay bare the extent of the problem.
The AQMAs are in high traffic spots where backed up vehicles and cars idling cause problems, and include the Star Lane/Key Street one-way system; the Chevallier Street/Valley Road/Norwich Road junction; Crown Street/St Margarets Street/St Helens Street; and St Matthews Street/Norwich Road between the Civic Drive roundabout and Bramford Road.
A fifth AQMA for the Bramford Road/Yarmouth Road/Chevallier Street junction is proposed for removal because "levels of nitrogen dioxide have remained below the objective level for several years" according to the council.