Mayor of London Sadiq Khan this week warned that over-reliance on cars for short journeys ‘will replace one public health crisis with another – caused by filthy air and gridlocked roads’.
His prediction followed news that over one third of car journeys in London could be walked in 25 minutes and that congestion associated with those trips costs the city over £5 billion per year.
Sadiq Khan explained: “The cost to both Londoners and the capital cannot be underestimated, with days wasted stuck in traffic, billions lost to the economy and increased road danger and health impacts. Most traffic is caused simply by there being too great a demand for limited street space, meaning the only long-term solution can be to significantly reduce car use in favour of greener means of travel.”
Traffic congestion the associated pollution and road danger is a national problem; Roads in London, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Liverpool are now as busy as they were in pre-pandemic 2019. In other words, it’s back to business as usual; Britain’s polluted air causes 40,000 early deaths a year, with almost one in four of those occurring in London. Globally, air pollution kills over 4 million. Year in. Year out.