Majority support further measures to reduce urban pollution

YouGov poll of five UK cities found that 80% of people would support measures against car emissions.

A survey has found that 80% of people would support measures against car emissions to tackle urban air pollution.

A YouGov poll of five UK cities – Glasgow, London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds – found the majority were in favour of measures that would reduce not only emissions but also use of cars in city centres.

The survey of 1,000 adults found that people were strongly in favour of more action to protect citizens from air pollution.

In Glasgow, 77% were in favour of having more public space reserved for pedestrians, and 65% agreed that more public space should be dedicated to cycling.

A further 74% agreed that more policies should be adopted to stop polluting cars from entering the city, for example through Zero-Emission Zones.

In response to the survey, Transform Scotland has recommended 12 steps local authorities and the Scottish Government could take for locking in the active travel benefits that have increased during lockdown.

Colin Howden, director of Transform Scotland, said: “Lockdown has shown that when there is an urgent need to prioritise travel by foot and bike, action can be taken quickly to make these changes.

“But we need to see more action by all Scottish local authorities as progress has been too slow in many parts of the country.

“Local authorities also need to show themselves willing to tackle more difficult schemes even if this leads to less space for cars. Today’s poll results show that there is certainly an appetite for this in Glasgow.”

Councillor Anna Richardson, Glasgow City Council’s convener for sustainability and carbon reduction said in the foreword of the report: “For many people, our towns and cities have been shown in a new light since travel restrictions came into place.

“With traffic greatly reduced during lockdown, people have been able to experience clean air, safe streets, and quiet and enjoyable urban spaces.

“For many, this has given a taste of a future where getting around on foot or by bike is an option for those who did not consider this possible before, and where people have priority in urban spaces, not cars.”

The report makes 12 recommendations, including widening pavements, constructing safe cycle lanes, and continuing to fund active travel measures, such as the ones that were funded during lockdown.

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