Public Health England (PHE) has published its Review of interventions to improve outdoor air quality and public health today (11 March 2019) with actions to reduce the threat of air pollution, the scale of which now sees it as ‘the largest environmental risk to the public’s health in the UK’.

The report recommends a focus on children with a range of interventions to protect future generations, including no-idling zones outside schools and behaviour change initiatives which promote the benefits of walking and cycling.

Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking delivered its ‘Swap the school run for a school walk’ report to the Transport Minister last year. In it, there are 21 recommendations to enable more children to walk to and from school, including preventing cars from being at school gates at peak times.

 

Tanya Braun, Head of Policy and Communications, Living Streets comments:

“Children are particularly vulnerable to the illegal and harmful levels of air pollution in our towns and cities - triggering asthma attacks and stunting their lung growth.

“This is a problem that can be fixed but we need urgent action to take the most polluting vehicles out of the areas where our children live, play and go to school.

“We strongly agree with the report’s recommendations that the interventions which stand to have the greatest impact are those which reduce emissions of air pollution at source. That’s why we want to tackle motor vehicle dominance by enabling and encouraging more families to swap the school run for a school walk.

“Local authorities must do more to make it easier for families to walk to school: 20mph limits, car-free zones and behaviour change initiatives can all help make it possible for more families to walk to school, protecting our children’s long-term health and creating cleaner towns and cities for everyone.”