There is little we can do to stop Saharan sand being carried on the winds to Brighton and Hove but we can tackle local air pollution, most of which comes from vehicles on our roads.

Experts at the Sussex Air conference last week explained that each Brighton and Hove resident has an average reduction in life expectancy of six months just because of bad air.

The health of our residents is one of the key reasons we’re taking firm action to clean up our air. We recently agreed a low emissions zone with the support of local bus companies and are working on a separate agreement with the taxi trade to reduce pollution.

This will ensure the engines that most frequently travel through our city will meet higher standards so that we can tackle stubborn pollution hotspots such as North Street in the centre of town.

Helping people switch from private vehicles to public transport, cycling and walking also takes polluting vehicles off our streets. We’ve supported more reliable bus services with new bus lanes in Lewes Road and Edward Street and have introduced safer cycling facilities such as dedicated cycle lanes in Old Shoreham Road and Lewes Road.

As a result, Brighton and Hove has had among the highest numbers of people in the country switching to buses and bicycles to get around, and we’ve seen air quality improve.

Our work is far from over, especially if we are to avoid massive EU fines for bad air.

But even if you put aside all the other benefits of more people using sustainable transport, doing our bit cleaning up the air we breathe saves lives – a worthy goal I hope many can support.

Councillor Pete West, Green, chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, Brighton and Hove City Council