Stephen Williams for West of England Mayor

Decline in walking in the West of England demands climate-first approach

By Stephen Williams, Sep 28, 2020 10:09

The Liberal Democrats have used their Autumn Conference this weekend to agree a series of measures to build a green recovery and tackle the climate emergency, including encouraging active travel through walking and cycling.

The proposals come as Liberal Democrat analysis of recent government statistics reveal the number of parts of a journey walked by people declined by almost 10% across England since 2015 while the number of parts of a journey cycled stagnated.

In the West of England, the proportion of people that have walked and cycled at least three times a week was only 54%, barely up from in 51% 2015/2016.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has warned the Government must take a “climate-first approach” to rebuilding the economy after the coronavirus.

Other green proposals agreed by the Liberal Democrats at their first digital conference include new legally binding commitments to reduce emissions tied into coronavirus related support packages and calls for the Government to join the EU Emission Trading Scheme.

Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat candidate for the Mayor of the West of England said:

“This pandemic has encouraged many of us to walk and cycle more, but it shouldn’t have taken a global pandemic to encourage people out of their cars.

“While I know people in the West of England want to do more to cut their emissions, the evidence is clear that the Conservatives have failed to tackle the problems of air pollution or invest properly in infrastructure to make walking and cycling safe.

“People deserve better. That is why the Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for more investment in walking and cycling to help increase our health.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey added:

“As we look at how we rebuild our economy after coronavirus, the Government must take a climate-first approach.

“That means increasing active travel but it also means cutting emissions by working with our closest international partners to create new green jobs in every community across the country.”

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