Backing sustainable transport would save millions, says Sustrans

Charity calls on Government to get behind cycles, walking and public transport by 2020
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The UK's congestion, health and environment problems could all be solved for the cost of just £20 per household, according to Sustrans.

The sustainable transport charity has said that the smarter use of transport budgets could save the UK Government billions. By establishing a UK-wide travel behaviour change programme – like those run in the Cycle cities initiative – four out of five local journeys could be sustainable by 2020, saving 0.9 millions tons of carbon a year – the equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off the road.

Sustrans' proposal would cost £370 million – a fraction of the £34 billion that congestion and rising obesity is set to cost the economy by 2020.

The proposal is part of Sustran's call to action to invest in making doubling the number of journeys made under five miles by bicycle, foot and public trasnport by 2020.

"A 'perfect storm' of massive cuts in public spending, rising congestion costs and soaring health bills from obesity could overwhelm transport priorities unless action is taken,” said Peter Lipman, Sustrans policy director.

“Traffic levels and congestion are projected to continue rising over the next decade, meanwhile significant reductions in transport spending will place severe pressure on transport budgets and make large schemes unaffordable. We have already seen the cancellation of the £1bn M4 relief road in Wales due to lack of funds and so cheaper alternatives to large road building schemes are needed.
 


"But a different approach could make a radical difference we currently make two out of every five local journeys by bike, on foot and by public transport – we believe it is possible, and necessary, to double that figure to four out of five. And it is achievable as the majority of local car journeys are less than five miles.

"The solutions are there and cycling to school, walking to work, having affordable public transport are a start but we need governments to take action to make these options more widely available. What's currently lacking is real political will and a sense of urgency and we believe that people would support their politicians since they want change too. Our research tells us that up to 95 per cent of those asked were in favour of transport policies that support walking, cycling and public transport even if these disadvantage the private car."

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