‘Tough choices nec­es­sary’

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - SPECIAL REPORT - CARLY LEONARD Chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Peter­bor­ough En­vi­ron­ment City Trust

Tough choices will need to be made to end the re­liance on the car says Carly Leonard, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the in­de­pen­dent char­ity the Peter­bor­ough En­vi­ron­ment City Trust. Whether that be con­ges­tion zones or ‘clean air zones’, which PECT would be happy to see in­ves­ti­gated, change needs to come sooner rather than later. Carly said: “There prob­a­bly will need to be dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions made in or­der for us to get to where there’s less ve­hi­cles on the road, there’s less pol­lu­tion, peo­ple are more ac­tive. “Those dif­fi­cult things shouldn’t be shied away from they should all be in­ves­ti­gated and all op­tions should be looked at.”

PECT is do­ing its bit to lead from the front, with an elec­tric com­pany car and bikes for staff to get to meet­ings.

At the lower end of the scale Carly would like to see em­ploy­ers make it eas­ier for peo­ple to walk or cy­cle into work, which might in­clude putting in show­ers. And she high­lighted an ini­tia­tive in Bris­tol called Play­ing Out where a street can close a road for a pe­riod of time so res­i­dents can re­claim it and chil­dren can go out and play. “I think things like that alone won’t solve the prob­lem, but they do give peo­ple that feel­ing of what it would be like if we weren’t over­run by cars all the time,” she said.

“I think the fewer cars on the road the safer peo­ple feel get­ting around. Also, from a pol­lu­tion and a re­s­pi­ra­tory per­spec­tive it’s much bet­ter for peo­ple to walk down a path that’s not choked up by ve­hi­cles all the time.”

Look­ing at the broader pic­ture, Carly says: “To some ex­tent you need to make it slightly harder for the car to be the eas­i­est op­tion and a lot eas­ier for it to be public trans­port, walk­ing and cy­cling.”

For this she wants to see in­vest­ment in sus­tain­able trans­port in­fra­struc­ture, adding: “A lot of the bar­ri­ers peo­ple feel to get­ting ac­tive and get­ting healthy are it feels dif­fi­cult and it feels like some­thing they’re not quite sure where to start with.

“That starts with just get­ting out for a walk or walk­ing to work or cy­cling. Rather than peo­ple think­ing they have to go from noth­ing to go­ing down the gym five times a week. It’s small steps.

“My top pri­or­ity would be to make sure we have the best sus­tain­able trans­port in­fra­struc­ture in place and that it made it re­ally en­tic­ing to get on your bike or walk to where you were go­ing.”

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