A new Clean Air Strategy announced today (22 May 2018) by Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, aims to crack down on a wide range of pollutants.

The UK government has now been defeated in both UK and EU courts over its failure to tackle toxic air pollution, with it newly announced that a further case would be heard in the EU’s highest court (21 May 2018). 

Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking is calling for further action to reduce car use.

Tompion Platt, Head of Policy and Communications, Living Streets said: 

“Motor traffic is the main source of air pollution in our towns and cities, but so far the government has fallen woefully short in detailing how they plan to reduce car use and support more people to walk, cycle and use public transport.

“Over 2,000 schools and nurseries in England and Wales are located within 150m of a road with illegal levels of air pollution and new research from Living Streets, released for national Walk to School Week, shows that one in three parents are now taking air pollution levels into consideration when choosing their child’s school.

“One in four cars in morning peak traffic are on the school run. Making it possible for more families to walk to school is an effective and practical way to reduce air pollution. This stands to have a much bigger impact on the air quality in our towns and cities – and around our children’s schools – than targeting the minority of people using wood burners.” 

Living Streets is also calling for a national network of clean air zones (CAZs) to take the most polluting vehicles out of the most polluted areas. The government’s own evidence shows that charging Clean Air Zones are the most effective way to cut air pollution.  

Living Streets’ new report, ‘Swap the school run for a school walk’ sets out 21 recommendations aimed at national government, local authorities and schools to increase the number of children walking to school. This includes closing streets outside schools at pick up and drop off time, which can form part of an area wide charging Clean Air Zone.