Cycling is one way to produce cleaner air for everyone


Swapping cars for bikes, not diesel for electric, is the best route to clean air

Cycling can be a huge part of the fight to tackle city air pollution. Tim Burns of Sustrans explains how their Active Travel Toolbox can help us get there

The government’s air quality plan may make our air more breathable in the long run but it fails to tackle some of the biggest issues facing cities and towns in the UK, and more people on bikes are a huge part of the answer.

At the heart of the plan is a move to ban all new diesel and petrol vans and cars from 2040, alongside a range of measures to support the electric car market and retrofit existing vehicles. It remains to be seen if the plan will be an effective measure to improve air quality, but it is almost guaranteed that this will be another missed opportunity to think about how we move about and live in cities and towns.

Focusing on switching from diesel and petrol vehicles to electric will most likely result in people simply changing the type of heavy box that they drive around our towns and cities in. This should improve air quality as emissions reduce over the long term, but it will do nothing to solve congestion on our streets, and it is a missed opportunity to improve public health.

There is no clearer and bigger opportunity to help reduce air pollution than encouraging more people to ride bikes.

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