Air quality

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

Sustrans, in partnership with Eunomia, has developed a first-of-its-kind model to quantify the contribution of walking and cycling in reducing levels of air pollution – and the subsequent benefits to public health.

cyclists on protected cycle route

In partnership with environmental consultancy Eunomia, we have released a first-of-its-kind model. This measures air quality benefits from both reducing motor emissions due to shifting to walking or cycling, and changes in personal exposure to air pollution.

The model calculates that if both England and Scotland reached their respective official goals to get more people to walk and cycle, savings to the economy of £9.31 billion could be made over ten years. 

Read the full story

This video tells how our new model can help make the case for change. For a future where we could see fewer motor vehicles on our roads and more people walking and cycling.

image of report cover: 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)

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