Today (Wednesday 8th October) is Clean Air Day, the UK’s largest air pollution campaign. The day is designed to raise awareness of the subject and show that we all have our role to play in keeping our air clean and protecting our environment.
The West of England Mayor says there is even more of a reason to walk or cycle on Clean Air Day this year and form new daily habits. With social distancing in place and capacity on public transport reduced, walking and cycling offers a great way to get around the region while improving your health and helping to reduce congestion and improve air quality.
The West of England Combined Authority recently launched a ‘Find Joy in the Journey’ campaign and have a dedicated page to promote it on the Travelwest website. It offers advice on how to find 1-1 cycle training or loan bikes to get you back on the bike and tips to help plan your walking or cycling route.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said, “Many people during lockdown took advantage of quieter roads to walk or cycle more regularly. I’d really encourage residents on Clean Air Day to find joy in the journey by swapping a short car journey for walking or cycling whether commuting to work, taking the kids to school or popping to the shops. It can not only improve mental and physical health but help reduce congestion and improve air quality.
“We’ll also be introducing hop on hop off escooters to the region later this month that will give residents even more sustainable travel options to help us on the road to a greener future for the West of England.”
Sarah Halls, a headteacher in Bath said, “I have had the opportunity to get daily exercise as part of my normal routine, cycling to and from work. The journey home is largely uphill and at the end of a long working day, not attractive on a regular bike. The e-bike solves that. I have increased my fitness and have benefitted from the fresh air and the ‘switch-off’ time that cycling affords, which has supported good mental health during an exceptionally stressful time.”
The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has agreed £13m investment in measures to enable active travel and cycling and walking in the region. £3m will underwrite the cost of short-term measures that can help support sustainable travel options while there is reduced capacity on public transport. A further £10m has been agreed for longer term solutions to encourage active travel in the region.
The investment is part of WECA’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 through investing in innovation, public transport, walking and cycling, renewable energy generation and supporting businesses to transition to low carbon ways of working.
In the West of England, carbon emissions have reduced 35 per cent since 2005, through local renewable energy generation, insulating homes and reductions in coal generation. The region emits 14% less carbon per person than the national average.
For more information on walking and cycling in the region visit travelwest.info/active-travel
To find out more about Clean Air Day go to: www.cleanairday.org.uk