Manchester City Council

Agenda item

Agenda item

Manchester Public Health Annual Report 2018

Report of the Director of Population Health and Wellbeing/Director of Public Health


As part of the statutory role of the Director of Public Health there is a requirement to produce an annual report on the health of the local population.  This report can either be a broad overview of a wide range of public health programmes and activities or have a single issue focus.  The 2018 report has a single issue focus on air quality.



The Committee considered the Public Health Annual Report 2018 submitted by the Director of Population Health and Wellbeing and Director of Public Health. The 2018 report had a single issue focus on air quality.


The Director of Public Health referred to the main points of the report which were:-


·                         Providing a description of pollution and the sources of this;

·                         The impact of poor air quality on health;

·                         Inequality and air pollution;

·                         A description of national and local policies and strategies to address air quality;

·                         Air quality in Manchester and its local health and economic impact;

·                         Actions at a Greater Manchester (GM) level, including the GM Low Emissions Strategy / Air Quality Action Plan; and

·                         Actions citizens could take to improve air quality.


Members commented that whilst they welcomed the report too much emphasis was placed on the actions of the individual and not enough attention on the role of businesses and other organisations that contributed to poor air quality.


Members commented that other factors, including those that the Council could seek to influence, for example road traffic management were absent from the report.


A Member commented on the wider impacts of poor air quality on the local population, stating that social isolation, loneliness and childhood obesity could be attributed to poor air quality. He said that improved connectivity across the city was important to improve rates of active travel stating that he welcomed the announcement that Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM) plan to deliver 1000 miles of walking and cycling routes and 1400 new crossing points. He said that public transport needed to be improved and Green Travel Plans could be easily established for schools and partner organisations. Members further commented that public transport links between hospitals needed to be improved, action needed to be taken to address vehicles idling, in particular taxis and walking routes established.


The Member noted that the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee regularly received reports around the issue of climate change and emissions and requested that the Chair enquired if the Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport would be willing to address the Health Scrutiny Committee at an appropriate time to inform the Committee on the actions taken within her portfolio that addressed the issue of poor air quality. The Members supported this recommendation.


A Member discussed the issue of second hand tobacco smoke and the health implications of this and asked for an update on what was being done to address this.


A Member commented that the report was silent on the impact of the airport and associated car journeys to and from the site that have an impact on the health of the local population. He said the airport needed to be more accountable to the local population and enquiries should be made with local GPs to establish the levels of asthma and other respiratory conditions and compare these to other areas of the city.  


The Assistant Executive Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing said that there were many good examples of local actions, such as monitoring air quality around schools that could be done for little money, and were useful to raise awareness amongst residents and stimulate local actions and discussions to address the issue of poor air quality.


The Director of Public Health said that work was ongoing to improve active travel that would impact on people’s health and recognised that there was a tension between encouraging residents to be more active whilst the air quality was poor. He reported that the Health Schools Team did work with schools to develop active travel plans and updates on this activity would be reported to the Committee at an appropriate time. He said that all partners on the Health and Wellbeing Board had been challenged to demonstrate what they had done to support and deliver similar schemes. He responded to the comments made on the impact of second hand tobacco some by advising the Committee that this area of activity would be considered by the Public Health Task and Finish Group as part of their ongoing enquiry.


The Director of Public Health said that the Council’s Green and Blue Infrastructure was an example of a policy that sought to improve connectivity and improve walking routes. He also said that this was also being addressed using the Council’s procurement policy to ensure the social value element included active travel. In response to the comments made regarding the airport and the impact on the local population’s health he informed Members that he would revisit the data from local GPs and report back to the Committee at an appropriate time.


Dr Martin Bewley, Speciality Registrar in Public Health addressed the Committee and said that the report had primarily focused on the city centre air quality. He said that there were simple actions that could be implemented to improve air quality, these included reducing congestion at peak times by businesses adopting flexible working patterns and people working from home and businesses reviewing their delivery schedules. He advised that TfGM are considering these, and other actions as part of a wider strategy. He commented on the discussion around the airport by stating that the emissions from aircraft had improved significantly over previous years.




The Committee:-


1.         Recommend that the Chair discusses with the Chair of the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee and the Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport how best to report to the Committee that activities that are undertaken as part of her portfolio to improve air quality.


2.         Requests the Director of Population Health and Wellbeing and Director of Public Health encourage schools and partners to develop green travel plans that are to be implemented and monitored. 


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