Last week, Newport City Council marked this year’s Clean Air Day with an event at Tredegar Park and Gaer Fort.

Clean Air Day is a national campaign which seeks to increase awareness of air pollution and poor air quality.

The campaign is led by the charity Global Action Plan, and we were proud to show our support once again with our second annual event.

The event saw children and teachers from both Gaer Primary and Maesglas Primary meet up at Tredegar Park to learn about the importance of clean air to both people and nature.

The children also learnt about air pollution and were shown how to monitor air quality using the latest equipment.

They then went on a guided environmental walk from the park to Gaer Fort, monitoring air and noise pollution levels along the way and recording the different wildlife they spotted along the route.

I was pleased to join Councillor Yvonne Forsey, cabinet member for climate change and biodiversity, at this event.

It was great to see how engaged the children were during the event. They were very enthusiastic about the environment and what they could do to protect it.

Education and engagement are a key part of the council’s air quality work. To that end, we will be looking to hold an event every year for Clean Air Day, as well as introducing more air quality management groups, so that we can work with more residents on tackling air pollution.

We all need to take steps to combat air pollution, and the more people know what to do, the cleaner our air will be.

Improving air quality is one of the objectives contained within our organisational climate change plan, which was launched back in March.

The plan sets out the actions we will take as a council to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.

We also have a wider role to play, to work with our partners, residents and businesses on reducing the city’s carbon emissions to net zero.

Our new local area energy plan, which was agreed by Cabinet earlier this month, is a key tenet of this aim.

The plan describes what a zero-carbon energy system for Newport could look like, as well as some key steps that we can take within the next five years to start this journey.

We have identified a number of key areas where we can take action, such as developing more onshore renewable energy sources; increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points; and improving the energy efficiency of our buildings through retrofit programmes.

Producing the two plans were commitments we promised when we declared a climate and ecological emergency last November. I’m pleased that we have been able to deliver those commitments, but this is just the beginning for us.

We now have the task of meeting the bold targets we have set ourselves, which our newly created climate change service area will be leading on.

We know that this is the defining issue of our generation, and it’s up to all of us, whether big organisations, businesses or individuals, to do what we can to ensure we leave our city, and our planet, in a better place for future generations.