"Clear and unambiguous" Government survey reveals significant support for using the car less

A survey by the Department for Transport has revealed more than three quarters of people in England believe everyone has a responsibility to reduce how much they use their cars for the sake of the environment.

But while support for making fewer car journeys appears to be on the rise, the numbers of people regularly cycling remains stubbornly low.

Cycling UK says the survey results prove there is a need for urgent action, and the charity is reiterating its calls for the Government to set road traffic reduction targets to encourage more people onto their bikes.

Roger Geffen, Cycling UK’s Policy Director said: “The evidence is clear and unambiguous; 76% of people in England now believe we need to drive less for the sake of the environment and to make our towns and cities better places to live. There is also growing public opposition to road-building.

“Yet the Government still plans to spend billions on motorways and trunk-roads, while starving councils of the funding for cycling, walking and other clean and healthy local transport options. 

“We need MPs to call for targets to halt and reverse the growth of road traffic in the Environment Bill in the coming weeks.  This is essential to avoid sleepwalking into a climate crisis, a pollution crisis, a congestion crisis and an inactivity-related illness crisis.”

The National Travel Attitudes Study also showed that 43% of people in England would be willing to reduce the amount they travel by car to reduce the impact of climate change.

However, only 36% of people agreed that many of the journeys of less than two miles they make by car could be easily cycled. That was down from 44% in 2010.

Meanwhile, the BBC has reported that a new report by University College London will criticise planners and engineers for allowing new housing developments to be dominated by roads without accounting for the needs of pedestrians and cyclists.

Report author Professor Matthew Carmona says that nearly three quarters of 142 developments surveyed should not have been given planning permission.

More than half should have been amended to improve a sense of place and help pedestrians and cyclists.

It’s an issue Cycling UK has been campaigning on.

Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns, said: “We’re stuck in the 1960s with our approach to new housing developments, so we’re designing for car dependency and planning for poor health.

“If we want people to ditch the car for short journeys and choose to cycle or walk, then these have to be easy and attractive options. But we’re still building housing estates without car free routes to local shops, schools and amenities, instead of designing to give people the opportunity to become less car dependant and choose active travel.”