Decline in walking in Cheltenham demands climate-first approach, Lib Dems say

The Liberal Democrats have used their Autumn Conference 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 Cheltenham, the proportion of people that have walked and cycled at least three times a week was only 51.1%, down from 52.3% in 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.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson Max Wilkinson for Cheltenham 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 Cheltenham 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.

"In Cheltenham, Gloucestershire County Council is in charge of our roads and transport policy. I hope we can persuade the county council to invest more in walking and cycling in our town - including fully segregated cycle paths.

“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.”

Max has a long track record of campaigning for active travel improvements as the Cheltenham Borough Council Walking and Cycling Champion.

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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