A study published in The Lancet today says traffic fumes in city streets 'largely wipe out exercise benefits for over-60s', after they compared participants walking in Hyde Park and down Oxford Street.
Tompion Platt, Head of Policy, Living Streets comments:
For some older people, walking is the only exercise they can do and they should be able to do so anywhere if they’re to stay active, healthy and included in society.
Any suggestion that older people should only walk in green spaces is ludicrous. The solution isn’t to restrict where people walk, it’s to clean up the air.
The study published in The Lancet identifies air pollution and other environmental factors, including noise levels on traffic-filled streets, as being detrimental to the health of older people. Indeed, air pollution is harmful to all of us and most UK cities are failing to tackle the levels of traffic responsible for it.
The evidence is clear, the only way to solve the problem of illegal air pollution is through the introduction of charging clean air zones and prioritising walking, cycling and public transport.
London is leading the way with its T-Charge and an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) but - on the whole - other UK cities have been hesitant to take real action to reduce vehicle dominance.
Local authorities and cities are responsible for tackling air pollution but can’t solve these problems alone, there needs to be national leadership.