Stop making diesel cars and pedestrianise town centres

My letter published in the Observer, 24th Jan 2016.

Investing in clean air will save us money – both now and in the future. The Conservative austerity programme starves local councils of funds while we continue expanding our roads, thus wasting millions on increasing air pollution. New investment should cut air pollution instead through backing pedestrian and cycle schemes. This will save the government money three times over. First, it will cut air pollution, a major killer in the UK. Second, it will lead to healthier lives in general, reducing costs to the NHS – and help us shift to more sustainable living into the bargain. But third, the savings will also be seen in the initial investment made, as there is typically a far better return on investment in walking, cycling and local public transport in the first place than on the new road schemes and HS2 that dominate our transport investment.
Dr Rupert Read
Chair, Green House thinktank
Norwich

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