Residents urged to walk or cycle to school and work this Clean Air Day

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This Clean Air Day (Thursday, June 17) Cornwall Council is urging residents and businesses to consider how their journeys affect air quality – and what they can do to help reduce air pollutants.  

It’s estimated that 23% of car journeys are less than one mile. 

Rather than taking the car for these short trips, the Council is urging people to walk or cycle to school, college or work or use public transport for one journey a week. 

Martyn Alvey, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for Environment and Climate Change, said: “We all have a duty to help protect the environment. We know that our vehicles contribute to air pollution in our local area, and to climate change. 

“I urge everyone to look at one way they can help reduce their impact. If we all made small changes, such as walking or cycling for just one journey a week, together we can make a big difference.” 

Poor air quality is a factor in 3% of all adult deaths in Cornwall each year. 

Dr Ruth Goldstein, Deputy Director of Public Health at Cornwall Council, said: “When air pollutants enter the body, they can have effects on various different organs and systems, not just the respiratory system, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes as well as increasing the risk of asthma and lung cancer. 

“Walking and cycling is good for the environment and good for us too. They help us get healthier and because being active improves our mental health it can help us feel better in other ways too.” 

Cornwall Council is committed to tackling climate change and aims to be carbon neutral by 2030.  With road transport accounting for around half of Cornwall’s greenhouse gas footprint, the Council is working on various projects to make it easier for residents to make greener choices about how they travel.  

This includes safe cycle and walking routes connecting places where people live with where they work or go to school; improving access to public transport and increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points.  

Councillor Philip Desmonde, cabinet portfolio holder for Transport at Cornwall Council, said: “Road transport has a significant impact on our environment, health and quality of life. We must act. For these reasons, we want to improve our public and active travel transport connectivity and ease of use so that the car becomes less and less dominant. My aim is to establish a delivery programme of 20mph zoning and living streets, with far less reliance on measures such as speed humps which in some cases can increase pollutant emissions. In addition, we are working to support and encourage the move to electric vehicles.”  

 

Story posted June 17, 2021

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