Making a Difference - National

Making a Difference highlights the power of news media titles to campaign for positive change. Earlier this week, an online vote was held to determine which local and national campaigns from the past year are the public's favourites.

The winners will be announced on Friday 9 October. Browse the local campaigns here

Making a Difference

Clean Air For All

The Times launched the Clean Air for All campaign to help save lives and reduce new cases of lung and heart disease.

Initially, the campaign focused on the impact on children because there is a growing body of evidence showing that air pollution damages developing lungs and brains.

Combining the Government's own estimates with geospatial analysis, the paper revealed that about 6,500 schools educating 2.6 million children are in areas where toxic fine particles exceed the World Health Organisation recommended limit.

The paper enabled readers to check the quality of the air breathed by themselves and their children, providing postcode checkers for schools and homes.

The Environment and Health Secretaries were interviewed, securing new commitments from them, including on rolling out traffic bans outside the most polluted schools and a pledge to adopt the recommended WHO limit for fine particles, the most damaging form of air pollution.

The campaign also called for the Government to pass a specific new Clean Air Act. This would set a legally binding deadline to improve air quality everywhere in the UK to the minimum standards recommended by WHO. The Act would also give local authorities the powers and resources to tackle the problem.

Many doctors and dozens of MPs and peers signed a letter organised by the paper, calling on the Government to pass a Clean Air Act. The campaign continues, raising the profile of a problem which cuts short 40,000 lives a year.