Sustrans has called for an end to the “chronic traffic congestion” on UK roads, in order to tackle air pollution.
This comes in response to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) annual report update on Air Pollutant Concentration statistics in the UK.
Dr Andy Cope, director of research and monitoring at Sustrans, said: “The report from DEFRA indicates that overall levels of pollution have shown long-term improvement. However, we are concerned that roadside nitrogen oxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10) pollution is still high, with around 80% of NO2 concentrations coming from local transport sources.
“Air pollution is a real threat to people’s health as well as to the natural environment contributing to raising annual temperatures. If we are really serious about improving the quality of the air we breathe, we need to make lifestyle choices that contribute fewer emissions. In transport terms, we need to put an end to the chronic traffic congestion on our roads and our over-dependence on single passenger motor transport. There is no ‘safe’ level of pollution. The UK Government can and must take action on air pollution now.
“We urgently need a new clean air legislation to which sets new binding targets for air quality and brings together transport, health and environment policies to prioritise prevention work to support clean air across the UK. At the heart of this we want to see investment into cleaner, healthier means of transportation, including walking and cycling, and initiatives such as Ultra Low Emission Zone and school street closures to help people choose walking and cycling for their regular journeys.”