With one of the greatest sources of microplastic pollution in our oceans caused by car tyre dust, Cycling UK is calling on more people to leave their cars in the driveway and either cycle or walk journeys under five miles.
Research commissioned by the charity from consultancy Witteveen and Bos has found 57% of car journeys in Great Britain are five miles or less, distances which Cycling UK says many people could easily cycle or walk.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: “Since the UK had its Blue Planet moment, we’ve all accepted the need to change our plastic habits which are visible whether that’s plastic bags or excess wrapping in supermarkets.
“However, the UK has failed to address or even acknowledge one other major source of plastic: our car dependence. It’s shocking that car tyre dust is the largest source of microplastics in our oceans –more needs to be done to give people a safe and attractive alternative to driving.”
The report also states that a like-for-like replacement of car journeys with e-car journeys would ignore other major vehicle-related challenges such as congestion, air pollution, severance, health, transport poverty and lack of e-charging infrastructure.
“With 57% of car trips made in Great Britain easily feasible by bike or on foot, it’s clear the next Government must do more to limit the amounts of pollution produced by our car-dependent society,” added Dollimore.
“Unfortunately replacing fossil-fuelled vehicles with electric cars is not going to stop the source of the microplastics in our oceans. We need better public transport options, and safer cycling and walking facilities. For cycling and walking, that means rapidly increasing investment to at least 10% of the transport budget in the next five years.”
Last month, Cycling UK wrote to all the main parties’ candidates asking them to make a ‘simple pledge’ to stand up for cycling and walking if they are successful in their election campaigns.
The charity is calling on the next Government to invest at least 5% of the transport budget on cycling and walking in 2020, and increase this to at least 10% within five years.
It says this level of funding is the minimum required for the next Government to meet its targets of doubling cycling journeys in England by 2025, and to achieve similar levels of walking and cycling throughout the UK.