Almost half (48%) of the British public are concerned about air pollution, according to the Department for Transport’s 2019 National Travel Survey.
The survey collects data from members of the public to assess the impact of transport policies on behaviour, to monitor trends in travel and to explain transport patterns amongst different groups of people.
According to the survey, cycling levels decreased in 2019 compared to 2018, however, in 2020 many more people have cycled locally during the pandemic.
Around 48% of respondents expressed concerns over poor air quality in their immediate neighbourhood.
While a quarter of all participants from rural villages and hamlets express concerns over air pollution, this figure increases to 59% for all citizens from urban conurbations.
The survey also revealed that the number of pedal cyclists killed or seriously injured has increased by 21% from 3,487 in 2008 to 4,205 in 2018.
Safety is the main barrier preventing people from cycling more with 66% of respondents saying that cycling on roads is too dangerous.
Rachel White, head of public affairs of walking and cycling charity Sustrans said: ‘Making it easier for people to walk and cycle and to leave the car at home will cut pollution, tackle the causes of poor health, and improve the safety of our streets.
‘As public transport capacity remains limited by the pandemic, more people travelling actively where they can mean more space on public transport and roads for those who need it.
‘In May, the Government made £250m emergency funding available to local authorities to implement temporary traffic measures that enable social distancing, as part of £2bn for walking and cycling over the next five years, and the recently published ‘Gear Change’ Cycling and Walking Vision marks a big step forward in making active travel easier and more inclusive and is warmly welcomed by Sustrans.’
In related news, as lockdown measures have been eased, Jamie Hailstone has investigated what can be done to ensure that these gains in cycling are not lost.
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