As a company situated right in the heart of our city, we're pretty proud of Southampton and the benefits of living here. However, in May 2014 the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report which named Southampton as one of the worst cities in the UK to be breaching air pollution safety guidelines!
The main cause of air pollution in the UK is emissions from vehicles. In Southampton additional sources of air pollution include industrial emissions, shipping emissions as well as airflow from the continent. See the other cities that breach air pollution safety guidelines here
As horrible as it sounds, compared to the other cities listed, Southampton and Leeds had the lowest average reading of those breaching this level, with Nottingham and Leeds exceeding the limit much more so than us!
This led us to do a bit of digging to find information on what is being done to make Southampton a greener place to live, and a sustainable city.
With the announcement that Southampton will be one of the first cities outside London to introduce a Clean Air Zone, it's a good first step in improving our air pollution levels. Southampton's Labour Council is quite committed to the idea of making improvements over the next few years, as laid out here.
Individual Groups / Volunteers
Another group dedicated to making Southampton a greener city is Transition, a group that host and run a number of events to do with sustainability and raising awareness of the topic. They provide a Sustainable Living Guide which includes where to find community venues, ethical shops and places to get things repaired in Southampton. Those behind the idea saw that there was a need to have a website where anyone wanting to volunteer their time could easily find out about projects they can contribute to at any time.
The Green Hampshire Community are another group focused on helping preserve and conserve the environment, both built and natural, for future generations.
It's not all bad though. Southampton has over 50 parks and green open spaces that range from small, locally used green areas to large, nationally recognised Sites of Special Scientific Interest, therefore as one of the greenest cities in the UK, Southampton has plenty of outdoor places in which to relax or go walking. These parks have won Southampton a number of awards.
Southampton had a number of charging points added in 2011 for those that have electric cars. You can check the website for the locations of those charging points also. There are a number of companies offering solar panel installations also. Installing solar panels on your home helps combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduces our collective dependence on fossil fuel.
There are a number of reasons why Southampton is a great place to live! It's important to know what is going on within your city and get involved in the community. You could find out whether your business could be making a change to help your city stay green. Whether it's going paperless like we have, or recycling all materials you use, every little helps! You could walk/ run / cycle to work, or even start a car share.
Share your thoughts with us on Twitter using #GreenSouthampton