Air quality

Air pollution is the leading public health crisis in the UK today and it is hitting children, people with a lung condition and the elderly the hardest.

We need to act now to reduce the number of polluting motor vehicles on our roads and make it easier for people to walk and cycle.

Air pollution is damaging our environment and our health. Up to 40,000 early deaths are attributable to air pollution each year in the UK and road transport is responsible for 80% of the pollution where legal limits are being broken.

The consequences for our health and environment from air pollution are avoidable. If we improve air quality, we improve quality of life for everyone.

Read our air quality policy position in full

Sustrans, in partnership with environmental consultancy Eunomia, has developed a first-of-its-kind model that measures the benefits that reducing motor emissions by shifting to walking or cycling makes to air quality.

The model calculates that if both England and Scotland reached their respective official goals to get more people to walk and cycle, in addition to the benefits to public health, it could save the economy £9.31 billion over ten years

This video tells how our new model can help make the case for change.

image of report cover: The role of walking and cycling in solving the UK’s air quality crisis

Briefing Note: The role of walking and cycling in solving the UK's air quality crisis

This handy summary of the new model outlines the air quality problem, current situation, Sustrans' modelling and offers recommendations for policymakers.

Download the briefing (PDF)

Image of the Actively improving air quality Sustrans round table report

Actively improving air quality Sustrans roundtable report

An “Actively Improving Air Quality” report from a roundtable Sustrans held with local authorities and Chris Boardman, in his role as Greater Manchester’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner sets out 10 recommendations for UK and local Government, and charities working in the field, to help tackle air pollution. 

Download the report (PDF)