MORE than 150 delegates, some from as far afield as Jerusalem and Oslo, welcomed the launch of the city's new environmental network today.

Politicians, businesses bosses, charity chiefs and scientists all showed their support for the city's Clean Air Network, which was launched during an event at Southampton Solent University this afternoon.

The scheme aims to bring together people from a wide-range of groups and industries across the city to share ideas on how to tackle Southampton's high pollution levels.

It also comes ahead of the introduction of a Clean Air Zone in Southampton, due to be brought in by 2020.

Talking after the launch, Southampton City Council's cabinet member for Sustainable Living, councillor Chris Hammond, said: "We had such an amazing turnout.

"I'm proud to say we've had people from all over the world to look at what Southampton as a city is doing about air pollution.

"There is a lot of enthusiasm about this scheme and we are going to try and harness this and hopefully turn it into something which will have a real impact."

The event included a talk from Public Health director for Southampton and Portsmouth, Jason Horsley, who emphasised the impact pollution has on health.

Doctor Horsley stated that an estimated 40,000 people die each year from causes attributed to high levels of pollution.

He also stated that around half of the pollution in Southampton was generated from heating homes and road traffic.

Doctor Horsley said he was "proud" that Southampton had identified the problem and was "pleased to see the city was taking the problem seriously."

Other speakers included Emily Morcumb, from Old Mutual Wealth.

The investment company are one of the five organisations to have already committed to the Clean Air Network.

BlueStar and Red Funnel have also signed up to the scheme, while talks are said to be ongoing with ABP.

Adam Goulden, chief executive officer at Southampton charity, The Environment Centre, also spoke at the launch.

The charity will be the main organisation facilitating the Clean Air Network.

He said: "We are absolutely delighted to be working on this.

"It is great that it is being led by a charity that is really in the city, to bring everyone together.

"We hope to use the network as an audit of what people are already doing in the city and to engage and share it with everyone."

The launch was ended by a clean air-themed dance, performed by pupils from St John's Primary and Nursery School.

Students imitated trees, air and breathing to symbolise the importance of clean air to Southampton's future generations.

The Clean Air Network is open to anyone who pledges to avoid generating pollution in the home, workplace or outdoors, as well as promoting low emission technologies.

Members will be able to access information workshops and forums with ideas on how to reduce their emissions.

Those who sign up will also be given a Clean Air Network card, offering discounts on green goods and services.

Anyone wishing to join the network can find out more information by contacting: