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Reading is one of the best places to live in the South East so why are we breathing some of the dirtiest air in the UK?

According to a recent Sunday Times Article, Reading is one of the ten best places to live in southeast England!  It’s our inclusive, vibrant culture and great parks (not to mention a surging Green Party movement) that makes Reading great.

That’s the good news! But there’s a big issue in Reading that nobody seems keen to discuss and it’s one of the most important issues we face as a community, the quality of the air we breathe.

Our air exceeds three different international standards for air quality and safety

If you live in Reading, there’s a very good chance that the air outside your front door exceeds not one, but three World Health Organisation air-pollution limits (PM2.5, PM10 and NO2)! In parts of central Reading you’re breathing in more double the World Health Organisation restrictions for Nitrogen Dioxide and taking in dangerous levels of lots of other unpleasant particles.

If you’re on the fence about air pollution and how it might be affecting you and your family – take a visit to and enter your postcode…

Sadly, Labour-run Reading Council don’t really have a joined-up plan. They refer to vague ‘ambitions’ but crucially they don’t seem to have a firm grip on improving air-quality.

Newly elected Green councillor Doug Cresswell prepares some difficult questions

Councillor Doug Cresswell is one of Katesgrove’s new Green councillors (one of two new councillors we gained in May, making us the official opposition in Reading) and he’s already bringing pressure to bear on the council to clean up the town’s air. Doug has a question scheduled for Full Council this week to request urgent action on improving Reading’s air quality. Stay in contact to see the response:

The Green Party has a plan for clean air

Improving air quality is a challenge we can’t postpone any longer, the long-term health effects of breathing highly polluted air are significant – so we need action. We must:

  1. Make walking, cycling, and public transport the main forms of urban transport.
  2. Improve people’s health by improving walking and cycling infrastructure.
  3. Make public transport cleaner, more affordable and more joined up.
  4. Make it easier to charge electric cars.
  5. Make our streets safe and friendly places where people choose to spend time.

We have a right to breathable air – and we expect the Labour-run council to work harder to deliver on air quality in Reading. If you’d like to help the Green Party campaign for a fairer, greener, cleaner town then please get in contact


Green councillor Rob White

Leader of the main opposition group on Reading Borough Council