Learning lessons from pandemic could see long term reduction in urban air pollution

Prioritising access to active travel and public transport are important to reducing car journeys and exposure to air pollution for everyone concludes a paper recently published by a team from the Health Protection Division at Public Health Wales, in collaboration with colleagues from Public Health England.

Dr Sarah J Jones, Consultant in Environmental Public Health for the Health Protection Division at Public Health Wales, said:

"How we travel affects the extent to which we are exposed to air pollution and this study aimed to look at how exposure varied for people walking, cycling, driving or using public transport. In some cases, people in cars were exposed to more pollutants, in others, it was people who were cycling who were more exposed. Lots of factors affect this, for example, where cycle lanes and footpaths are and how fresh air is drawn in to cars. But, we also found that people who walk, cycle and use public transport are healthier than those who drive.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many changes in the way we travel and it is important that we continue to support as many people as possible to use active transport and public transport, particularly for short, around town type journeys, so that we can improve our air quality for everyone."