Dame Jane Roberts, Chair of Living Streets, says in the report:
“This year has marked a profound change in the way we live. The coronavirus pandemic has taken lives and destroyed livelihoods. It highlighted the inequalities in our society and made them worse. Can we build back better?
“There are grounds for hope. During repeated lockdowns, people from all walks of life have experienced the benefits walking brings – finding nature, better wellbeing and a new-found love of physical activity.”
Living Streets was joined this year by Mary Creagh, former Shadow Transport Secretary, who now leads the charity.
Mary Creagh, Chief Executive, says:
“There is a growing understanding of how walking tackles some of biggest crises facing us– inactivity, loneliness and climate change. If we are to build back better, then there must be no return to dangerous, dirty, congested streets.
“By enabling people to walk more short, local journeys, we can help reach our Net Zero goals and help people from all walks of life live better.”
The charity is currently campaigning for walking in May’s Elections 2021: Choose Walking | Living Streets is working to ensure walking is at the heart of the UK’s Net Zero carbon reduction strategy; and is running its walk to school programme in over 2,000 schools nationwide.
With schools currently closed to many, the charity launched its WOW Activity Tracker, which is helping thousands of pupils nationwide to stay active whilst home schooling.
In 2020, Living Streets campaigned for changes to the Highway Code to put pedestrians first and to ban pavement parking in England. Responses from the Department for Transport are due this year.
Mary Creagh continues:
“2021 will be a massive year for walking. As the voice of pedestrians, we look forward to embedding the behaviour changes of the past year. This will only happen with more Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, slower speeds and safer crossings to avoid a car-led recovery.”