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 - September 2018 (pdf)


Sustrans says

A selection of our articles, blog posts and news.

We respond to a call for ban of pavement parking (30/08/18) Sustrans have backed the letter from Living Streets and Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and over 17,000 members of the public, calling for a long overdue review of how a new law to tackle pavement parking would work. Xavier Brice, CEO for Sustrans, said: “We’re calling on the UK Government to protect our most vulnerable road users and urgently bring the ban of pavement parking across the rest of England in line with London.”

Are route-finding apps making streets more dangerous? (30/08/18) Guest Sustrans blogger Dr Rachel Aldred discusses new research which found twice as many children walking, and three times as many children cycling, are killed or seriously injured for every mile driven on minor roads in comparison to major roads. Apps for drivers may re-route cars via minor roads in local neighbourhoods in the interest of avoiding main road queues and saving time. This means there are major implications for governments and transport planners aiming to reduce road danger for people walking and cycling.

Our response to the Walking and Cycling Statistics England 2017 (30/08/18) Responding to the Walking and Cycling Statistics, England, 2017, Xavier Brice, CEO for Sustrans, said: “Whilst it is encouraging to see that walking continues to increase, it is disappointing to see that levels of cycling have not changed nationally or regionally compared to previous years. The UK Government recommends people build active travel into their daily commute yet it fails to take bold steps to turn that into reality. We urge the UK Government to prioritise the development of safe and high-quality walking and cycling routes to enable more people to walk and cycle.”

DfT consultation into cycling safety laws – our response (13/08/18) On 12 August 2018 the Department for Transport announced a consultation into whether proposed new offences of causing death or serious injury while cycling, equivalent to existing offences for drivers, should be introduced.  In response, Anita Konrad, Sustrans England Director, said: “The case for a new offence to tackle dangerous and careless cycling must remain proportional. In 2016, 448 pedestrians were killed on our roads but cyclists were only involved in three of these cases. Every death is a tragedy but we must remember that people on bikes are vulnerable road users, too. There is an urgent need to ensure that the justice system is able to deal appropriately with careless and deliberately dangerous behaviour by all road users.”

£6.9m funding from Scottish Government for the National Cycle Network welcomed by Sustrans Scotland (10/08/18) Sustrans Scotland has welcomed the investment of a further £3.9m from the Scottish Government to help develop National Cycle Network routes across Scotland. Sustrans Scotland Deputy Director Grace Martin said: “The National Cycle Network is vital for every day journeys, leisure trips and tourism in Scotland. The Scottish Government’s additional investment in the network highlights its commitment to creating a sustainable and active Scotland.”

Key developments

Walking and cycling statistics information (30/08/18) Guide to walking and cycling statistics, their source documents, accompanying notes and definitions and supporting technical documents.

Air pollution linked to heart remodelling (03/08/18) British Heart Foundation reports researchers have found that people exposed to air pollution levels well within UK guidelines have changes in the structure of the heart, similar to those seen in the early stages of heart failure.

Contemporary Approaches to Sustainability in European Cities (20/08/18) This event co-sponsored by Sustrans in Dundee will consider the application of contemporary strategies to make medium-sized cities more sustainable in environmental, socio-economic and cultural terms. Speakers will include experts from cities across Europe including Bilbao, Aarhus, Freiburg and Ljubljana together with additional input from Scottish and UK specialists.

New plans to update road safety laws to protect cyclists and pedestrians (12/08/18). Consultation to look at whether a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for dangerous cyclists.

Study highlights air pollution risk to children in prams (14/08/18) Air Quality News reports that young children in prams may be exposed to up to 60% more pollution than their parents at the kerbside, research published today has suggested.  A study, conducted by the Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) at the University of Surrey in the Environment International journal, investigated the potential exposure of infants based on their proximity to ground level and emissions at the roadside.

Traffic-related air pollution and the local burden of childhood asthma in Bradford, UK (04/08/18) Academic study which estimates air pollution can cause a large, but preventable, childhood asthma burden. The burden of disease varied depending on the pollutant selected.

Nitrogen dioxide: effects on mortality (22/08/18) Report by COMEAP (the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants) published by Public Health England recommends how to estimate the benefits of reducing concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in outdoor air and calculates the mortality burden of current levels of air pollution. It suggests that between 28,000 and 36,000 premature deaths in the UK every year can be linked to long-term exposure to air pollution.

Air pollution causes ‘huge’ reduction in intelligence, study reveals (27/08/18) The Guardian reports on a Chinese research study. The research was conducted in China but is relevant across the world, with 95% of the global population breathing unsafe air. It found that high pollution levels led to significant drops in test scores in language and arithmetic, with the average impact equivalent to having lost a year of the person’s education.

Visual looming & child pedestrian safety (07/08/18) The latest in the ‘Essential Evidence’ series by Dr Adrian Davis reports that children may not be able to detect vehicles approaching at speeds in excess of 20 mph. This creates a risk of careless road crossing in urban settings when traffic speeds are higher than 20 mph. The risk is exacerbated because vehicles moving faster than this speed are more likely to result in pedestrian fatalities.

City mayors make joint call for urgent action to tackle UK air pollution (26/08/18) The Observer reports that City leaders across England and Wales have teamed up to demand that Theresa May take immediate action to fight air pollution, which scientists say causes at least 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK.

Local transport data discovery report (01/08/18) This report presents findings and recommendations from the local transport data discovery project undertaken by North Highland consultants. It sets out steps to help local authorities to manage their data better and make more data open.

Are e-bikes the product to give cycling universal appeal? (03/08/19) As the UK’s largest all-electric bike-share scheme settles in at Derby, Rhodri Clark reports on the growth of the e-bike and the opportunities and challenges it presents. Including comment from Dr Andy Cope, Sustrans Insight Director.

Sustrans responses

Upcoming consultations and inquiries

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