The Government should provide ‘dedicated, continuous funding’ for walking and cycling to help local authorities tackle air pollution, according to a new report.
The Sustrans report sets out 10 recommendations to help local authorities overcome the ‘many barriers’ that prevent them from implementing active travel schemes, including a lack of political leadership and funding, car dominance and lack of community engagement.
Among the report’s recommendations is a call for the Government to lead a national campaign to raise awareness of the need to tackle air pollution – giving politicians the mandate to act.
The report also encourages the Government to do more to limit the number of private vehicles in city centres – including clean air zones – and help local authorities take action to deliver long-term continuous improvement in air quality beyond 2020.
Furthermore, the report suggests councils should place health practitioners in transport and planning teams.
Anita Konrad, England director for Sustrans, said: “We face an air quality crisis. This is an invisible issue that kills tens of thousands of people prematurely every year in the UK; and will be the greatest environmental cause of mortality worldwide by 2050.
“One of the best ways to improve air quality in the UK is to reduce the number of motorised vehicles on the road and offer alternatives to private vehicle travel, such as walking and cycling.
“We’re calling on the UK Government to take joined-up action on linking policy and funding for walking, cycling and reducing air pollution and to help local authorities to encourage more people to travel by bike and on foot for shorter journeys.
“It is time for the Government to take the lead and work with others to deliver tangible solutions to save lives.”