Price mo­torists off the road, coun­cils told

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Laura Don­nelly Health ed­i­tor

CON­GES­TION charges, car bans and speed bumps should be in­tro­duced ev­ery­where to per­suade more mo­torists to walk, NHS watch­dogs say.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are be­ing asked to price driv­ers off the road and to en­cour­age peo­ple to walk, cy­cle or use pub­lic trans­port. Guid­ance from the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Health and Care Ex­cel­lence (Nice), says cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans should take pri­or­ity when roads were be­ing planned or up­graded.

The pro­pos­als pro­voked fury from the mo­tor­ing lobby, which told the watch­dog to “take a real­ity check” be­fore heap­ing costs and penal­ties on driv­ers.

They said that peo­ple re­lied more on cars as pub­lic trans­port was de­te­ri­o­rat- ing.

Nice said the aim of the draft pro­pos­als was to “get peo­ple to be more ac­tive in their day-to-day lives” by en­cour­ag­ing safe, con­ve­nient, ac­tive travel that is ac­ces­si­ble for every­one”.

The guid­ance sug­gests re­design­ing roads so more space is given to walk­ers

and cy­cle lanes, as well as ban­ning cars in some ar­eas, in­tro­duc­ing charges for driv­ers, and traf­fic-calm­ing schemes.

Prof Gil­lian Leng, Nice deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “We are fac­ing a loom­ing Type 2 di­a­betes cri­sis in part caused by peo­ple not ex­er­cis­ing enough. We need more peo­ple to change their life­style and to take more ex­er­cise. Peo­ple can feel less safe when they walk or cy­cle. We’ve got to change this.”

Phys­i­cal in­ac­tiv­ity is re­spon­si­ble for one in six deaths and is be­lieved to cost the UK £7.4 bil­lion each year.

Joe Irvin, of the walk­ing char­ity Liv­ing Streets, said: “For decades, our towns and cities have been built to pri- ori­tise mo­tor ve­hi­cles, re­sult­ing in un­healthy air, con­gested roads and a de­cline in peo­ple walk­ing. The bet­ter plan­ning that Nice is sug­gest­ing is ab­so­lutely ne­c­es­sary. It’s time that towns and cities were built for every­one, first and fore­most for those on foot.”

But Ed­mund King, of the AA, said: “This guid­ance needs a real­ity check. Three quarters of the na­tion’s freight is trans­ported by road. Vi­tal com­mu­nity ser­vices rely on a good road net­work.”

Ni­cholas Lyes, of the RAC, said many peo­ple re­lied on cars amid grow­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion with pub­lic trans­port. A pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion runs un­til Feb 1.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.