Born in Bradford: Focus on pollution



To reduce pollution and improve the health of families living in Bradford District

Whats the problem?

Air pollutants are harmful for both children and adults. Pollution is linked to a range of health problems including poor birth outcomes, heart and lung disease, cancer and brain development. In 2018, Bradford was identified by the UK Government as one of 28 local authorities with illegally high levels of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant often caused by vehicle exhausts, and was directed to urgently address this issue.

What we have found so far

  • Early Born in Bradford (BiB) research uncovered links between pollution and low birth weight of babies in Bradford.
  • As children grow up, BiB found exposure to air pollution during early life to be related to higher blood pressue and poorer cognitive development at ages 4 – 5; and indoor air quality related to childhood obesity at ages 6 – 11.
  • We found that poorer communities are subject to several environmental risk factors including; greater air pollution, more noise from traffic, and less access to high quality green spaces.

What is the BiB Breathes project doing to help?

  • BiB has been working with Bradford Council to develop its ambitious Clean Air Plan, including a Clear Air Zone (CAZ) which aims to achieve a large reduction in pollution across the District
  • BiB worked with local communities using co-productive approaches to ensure views of under-served and seldom heard communities were fed into plans.

Our Impact

  • BiB evidence helped Bradford Council secure over £40million to implement the Bradford Clean Air Plan. The Bradford Clean Air Zone went live on 26th September 2022, charging the most polluting taxis, buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles and light goods vehicles a daily charge to enter.
  • As a result of BiB’s work with seldom heard communities, appropriate mitigation strategies were planned including grants to allow local businesses to upgrade vehicles to compliant standards. This included over £12 million funding for taxi drivers to cover up to £10,000 towards the cost of replacing or upgrading vehicles.
  • BiB secured funding from NIHR for the BiB Breathes project, to evaluate the health, air quality and economic impacts of the Bradford Clean Air Zone, using health data and working with local communities.
  • So far we have trained over 200 primary school pupils to be ‘citizen scientists’ tracking their pollution exposure on their journey to and from school.
  • We have delivered creativity labs and co-production workshops to over 14 primary schools to generate creative ideas on how to tackle air pollution and are working with Bradford Council to implement and evaluate new approaches to reducing pollution including School Streets.


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