British Cycling policy advisor says that the figures on deaths linked to nitrogen dioxide in the UK are "staggering"

Chris Boardman has called on the government to properly commit to the forthcoming Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in order to reduce the number of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) related deaths, after figures estimated it causes 23,500 deaths in the UK every year.

The figures were released within a consultation paper by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to investigate levels of NO2 in the air, which says it wants ‘to make the UK a country with some of the very best air quality in the world.’

Boardman, who acts as British Cycling’s policy advisor, reacted to the data by saying it was “staggering” and that the situation should be treated “as a national emergency,” citing the Netherlands as a country which has properly committed to prioritising cycling and walking.

“The amount of deaths link to NO2 is a staggering figure, so I am mystified as to why these largely preventable deaths aren’t being treated as a national emergency; a full-blown crisis,” Boardman said.

“This is particularly true since the solution is so obvious and is already being employed all across Europe.

>>> Chris Boardman explains why cyclists ride two abreast in new safety video

“We know that more cycling and walking could drastically reduce the death toll caused by pollution if we committed to it like our European neighbours.

“In the Netherlands – just 250 miles from where our government sits – 44% of all train journeys start with a bike ride and 50% of all school children ride to school. Why are we not striving for the same?

Prime minister David Cameron stated during the 2015 general election campaign that he would be willing to commit £10 per head funding through the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. But Boardman has called on those in charge to think further about the investment to prevent what he describes as “needless” deaths.

“The forthcoming Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy could, with serious commitment and adequate funding, establish an infrastructure which would give people a genuine option to leave their car at home and travel to offices and schools on foot or by bicycle,” said Boardman.

“Prioritising cycling and walking in our transport system is a proven, cheap, effective and sustainable solution to many of our problems. With so many needless deaths, the government shouldn’t be asking themselves ‘why should we?’ invest in cycling, but rather, start explaining why they aren’t.”

  • 65juicer

    Cycle Super Highways alongside London’s busiest roads…hmmm.

  • David Chadderton

    Aha, a pattern is emerging. First it was being a famous racer, then cycling safety and motorist awareness campaign, now it’s air pollution. A politician in the making?

  • Namothy

    Local councils are spending a crapload of money on finding ways of diverting traffic from hotspots. I know this as I have had meetings with Swansea City’s Environmental planners. Nothing was said about people getting out of their cars, just moving them around pollution hotspots, even though that besides cancer and heart disease N02 related lung conditions were and are the chief cause of death in the city, made worse by it’s weird topography, walled on three sides by large hills with the sea at the front.

  • SeanMcCuen

    on a side note, the automobile plague makes me want to puke.

  • Dan Whitten

    In 1848 Winchester was struck by cholera, which left 34 people dead — the culmination of a problem that had developed with the city’s growing population. A 30-year delay in the provision of sewage occurred because of fierce factional fighting at local elections. Muckabites considered mains drainage unnecessary and likely to raise the rates and triumphed in the polls. The Muckabite mentality still prevails today in the case of the motor vehicle.

  • Caspar Hughes

    You mean 3000 odd road traffic collision deaths, 42,000 pollution and however many sedentary related deaths…..nothing to see here.

  • Dan Whitten

    “I am mystified as to why these largely preventable deaths aren’t being treated as a national emergency”
    There is no mystery here unfortunately. Our motor supremacist culture dictates that the multiple problems associated with over reliance on motor vehicles are simply not worthy of serious consideration as the alternatives are too problematic to entertain.