What we say

Walking is great for your health, but air pollution is putting the public at risk. 

The two pollutants of most concern are microscopic airborne particles, known as particulate matter (PM), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

There is no safe level of particulate matter and the UK Government is breaking the law with current levels of air pollution. People who walk or cycle do not contribute to air pollution, but are unfairly exposed to it.

 

Pram with child
Child with balloon

What we want

We want the Government to take action on diesel exhausts in our towns and cities and to invest more in walking and cycling. We are also calling for a new Clean Air Act. The first act was introduced to deal with coal fire smog in 1956. We now need new legislation.

Did you know?

70%

Proportion of pollution that comes from road traffic, in particular diesel fumes.

40,000

Premature deaths each year in the UK are attributable to air pollution. 

38/43

UK zones that exceeded legal levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions in 2013.

What you can do

Walking is a big part of the solution to reducing levels of air pollution, especially for short journeys. Switching the journey to school, work or to the shops from the motor car to walking will reduce levels of air pollution. 

The government is ultimately responsible for reducing levels of air pollution to within legal limits, but they won't act unless they know how important it is to the public.

Write to your MP to let them know you expect the Government to take the steps necessary to reduce air pollution where you live.

Walking Cities

Walk to School

Blog post

Walking

BBC Two's Fighting For Air was a great example of how communities can make their neighbourhoods more liveable - and the Walk to School made a starring appearance.

Matt, our digital coordinator, loved it and thinks you will, too.

Read the blog post now

FAQs

Wouldn't I be safer from air pollution in the car?

Studies show that levels or air pollution are broadly similar inside and outside of cars and may be higher for vehicles stuck in traffic. Results vary from one study to another, but demonstrate that the car does not offer protection from air pollution. If you are on foot you get the added health benefits from walking, which outweigh any negative effects of air pollution. 

Won't electric cars solve this problem?

Electric cars are far from commonplace and do nothing to reduce the number of vehicles on the road which causes congestion and the worst cases of air pollution. We need to take action now to reduce illegal air pollution levels. The quickest, most effective and sustainable way to do this is to encourage more walking journeys.

Would changing where I walk reduce my exposure to air pollution?

We believe everyone has the right to walk along the most direct route to their destination without fear of air pollution. However, studies have shown that walking further away from the kerb and using alternative routes (such as a block away from the most polluted roads) will reduce exposure to air pollution.