Inspiring people to campaign for clean air in Cheltenham

By celebrating the benefits of clean air, we aim to inspire people from all walks of life to collaborate to help achieve better air quality in Cheltenham.

One of the main ways we do this is by organising events in support of Clean Air Day.

We work with people pursuing similiar aims, such as cycling and environmental groups, tree-planting organisations, residents’ associations, health professionals, businesses and schools. We want to act as a catalyst to encourage collaborative action between everyone concerned with the quality of air in the town, particularly with regard to radical challenges to the dominance of cars and traffic in Cheltenham.

We recognise the critical role air quality plays in physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. The quality of the air we breathe is of central importance to the well-being of all of us, and especially people who suffer from respiratory disease, parents, children, and the elderly.

Despite the obstacles posed by the Covid-19 restrictions, we decided to launch this project in this year of 20:20 Vision – a year of both crisis and opportunity. In the early weeks of lockdown, so many of us commented on the sweet and unfamiliar freshness of the air in town, and the delight in hearing new birdsong. This offered a glimpse into, and seeded a vision of, a future possibility of a quiet town centre; free from traffic and pollution.

Cheltenham’s historical links with health and education

Historically, Cheltenham is associated with healing, when the fame of its Spa spread throughout the country in the 18th century.

The town’s motto is Health and Education (Salubritas et Eruditio) and Clean Air Cheltenham aims to cultivate and celebrate both.

You can still sample the sodium bicarbonate rich waters at Pittville Pump Room on certain days, where the Greek and Roman healing deities, Aesculapius and his daughter Hygieia, as well as Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, look out protectively across the town from the roof. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to drink from the taps located in the foyer of the Town Hall.

Our town is also unusual in being home to more than 60,000 trees which grace its streets and parks, contributing so generously to the purification of our air. We are fortunate to be holding a Tree Walk during Clean Air Day and you can find information about self-guided walks here.

Aesculapius Hygieia Hippocrates