Policy Scan

Sustrans Policy Scan is a regular summary of key policy thinking, reports, announcements and consultations:

Sustrans says
Sustrans press comments, reports and campaigns relating to policy

Key developments
Relevant government and other organisations’ policy/reports/campaigns

Consultations and inquiries
Sustrans' responses and upcoming consultations

Latest Policy Scan - December 2016 (pdf)

Sustrans says

Make London diesel-free: an open letter to Sadiq Khan (12/12/16) We have joined 10 other organisations in signing a letter to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan asking him to ban diesel cars by no later than 2025, to tackle air pollution in London.  The call follows the recent announcement to ban diesel vehicles by Mayors of four global cities, Athens, Madrid, Mexico City and Paris, by 2025. As a member of the Healthy Air Campaign, Sustrans supports the need for urgent action to improve air quality in the UK.

The incredible value of cycling and walking goes beyond economic benefits (15/12/16) There is a growing evidence base setting out the economic benefits of active travel. A new report suggests that cycling is worth €500 billion to the European economy, with another report calculating the value of active travel to the UK economy at £14 billion. Dr Andy Cope, Sustrans Director of Insight shares these findings and their implications.

Key developments

Sadiq Khan to spend £770m on London cycling initiatives (05/12/16) The Guardian reports that London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has promised to spend £770m on cycling initiatives over the course of his term, saying he wants to make riding a bike the “safe and obvious” transport choice for all Londoners.  Following criticism that Khan has not been as bold as his predecessor, Boris Johnson, and amid increasing worries about air quality in London, Khan’s office has set out what is described as a hugely ambitious programme to boost cyclist numbers.

Transport Statistics Great Britain: 2016 (08/12/16) The Department for Transport has released the latest statistics on travel habits in the UK revealing that 22% of all trips in the UK in 2015 were made on foot. However, walking and cycling trips have declined since 1995/97.  The main findings are:

  • The average distance a person walked in 2015 was 185 miles
  • 44% of children aged 5-10 years and 37% of children aged 11-16 years walked to school
  • 15% of adults in England cycled at least once a month

Over 900 cyclists injured in hit-and-run incidents in London last year (23/11/16) Cycling Weekly reports that the number of people injured in hit-and-run collisions continues to rise in Britain's capital, as Green Party calls for action to curb the 'epidemic'.

Scotland Review of Active Travel Policy Implementation (02/11/16) In 2015 the Scottish Government undertook a review of how its policies relating to active travel are implemented across the country. It aimed to understand how policies can deliver high levels of active travel. The report concludes that the Scottish Government’s ambition for increased levels of walking and cycling is recognised by and shared across various policy areas but that there are potential weaknesses in policy delivery.

Newcastle opens £1.7m protected city centre cycleway (03/12/16) BikeBiz reports on a new protected cycleway which has opened in Newcastle upon Tyne. After months of construction the John Dobson Street cycleway has finally officially opened. Running parallel to Newcastle's main shopping highway the cycleway cost £1.7m, and will be followed by links to other routes.

Let’s Get Moving (27/09/16) Age Scotland has launched a campaign to promote the benefits of physical activity. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise five days a week can improve confidence, cognitive function, joint and back pain and help to reduce the risk of falls in people with mobility problems.

UK has second-highest number of deaths from NO2 pollution in Europe (23/11/16) Air Quality in Europe, a report from the European Environment Agency, says the UK is second only to Italy in Europe for the highest number of annual deaths from this major air pollutant.  The report comes just days after a court gave UK ministers a deadline for drawing up a stronger air quality plan.  The European Environment Agency said the UK had 11,940 premature deaths in 2013 from nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas mostly caused by diesel vehicles and linked to lung problems. The agency also revealed that the UK is home to the worst NO2 hotspot in Europe. Marylebone Road in London recorded the highest annual mean levels of the pollutant, more than double the legal EU limit.

How Vancouver Became North America's Car-Free Capital (05/12/16) CityLab reports that Vancouver has hit its 50% “active transit” target, 5 years ahead of schedule.

Separating bikes from traffic can halve pollution exposure, study finds (29/11/16) Road.CC reports that cycle tracks separated from motor traffic by as little as 7m can reduce cyclists’ exposure to air pollution by 20-30%, while those further from roads can cut exposure to traffic fumes by up to half, according to a new study.  Researchers at the University of Canterbury, in New Zealand, measured cyclists’ exposure to fine particulate matter and carbon monoxide on the road, on the pavement, and on an off-road cycle path, and found exposure decreased 20-30%on the pavement and 40-50%away from traffic, compared to on the road.

Pedestrian-friendly routes encourage walking to work (13/12/16) Emma Adams, Research and Evaluation Manager at the British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity, has published a paper finding that people are more likely to commute to work by walking if workplace environments include convenient walking routes, suitable pavements, maintained pavements or convenient public transport. Therefore developing pedestrian-friendly environments may be an important factor in influencing people’s walking to work habits.


Consultations and inquiries

Sustrans responses

Upcoming consultations and inquiries


Health and wellbeing



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