The government's 'Survey of Public Attitudes to Quality of Life and to the Environment - 2001' released this week by DEFRA and the Office of National Statistics, reveals that despite deep concern over traffic congestion and pollution, 60 percent of the UK population is not prepared to act to remedy the situation. But, looking on the bright side, that leaves 40 percent that is either looking at getting into cycling, or already doing so!

Do as I say, not do as I do

83 percent of the public claim to be worried about traffic congestion (43 percent

very worried and 40 percent fairly worried) and 88 percent are worried about traffic pollution (52 percent very worried and 36 percent fairly worried).

However, only 39 percent of respondents reported that they had cut down on the use of cars for short journeys.

Perturbed by the findings, Kevin Saunders, Sustrans’s senior press officer, said:

"It is good to see that the vast majority of people are rightly concerned about the effects of traffic, but it is important that this is matched by personal responsibility to tackle the problem. Short car journeys can easily be replaced by walking or cycling, with added health benefits of actively travelling, but it appears only a minority are prepared to take action."

However, the argument in favour of bikes, walking and other means of transport other than the car, is going in a positive direction: since the first survey in 1986, the proportions of respondents saying that they are very worried has risen considerably. Only 23 percent of the population was worried about traffic exhaust fumes and urban smog in 1986 but that has doubled to 52 percent in 2001.


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