Drivers in Sheffield are being urged to leave their cars at home and try a new way of commuting for a week in the new year.
It is part of a new campaign aimed at improving air quality – which has been highlighted as a major problem in the city – by Sheffield Council.
Air Aware in Sheffield aims to raise awareness of how pollutants from traffic contribute to up to 500 premature deaths a year in the city.
It is also asking residents to do their bit by using public transport, running, cycling or walking to work occasionally.
Coun Jayne Dunn, council cabinet member for environment, said: “Small changes can really reduce air pollution and give better health to all of us.
“Even giving up the car just one day a week would make a huge difference – of about 20 per cent – and may even get people to work and school more quickly.
“Air quality is an absolutely vital issue for all of us here in Sheffield.”
The council says using the bus on key commuter lanes can be quicker than driving because of dedicated bus lanes.
Walking also means passengers breathe in less concentrated polluted air than by sitting in a queue of traffic.
The health costs of poor air quality in Sheffield add up to £160 million a year.
In some areas with the highest levels of pollution and where EU thresholds are breached, life expectancies can be reduced by as much as nine years.
Deborah Stephenson, aged 50 and from Ecclesall, ran to work instead.
She said: “It’s only a 2.2-mile run from home to work and it took me 20 minutes – compared to the 25 minutes driving to work takes.
“The fun bit was running past the same traffic down Ecclesall Road and knowing I wasn’t contributing to air pollution like I usually do in my diesel car.
“The only down side for me was smelling the pollution.”
n To find out more about the campaign, visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/airaware