ULEZ: improve air quality and we’ll walk to work, Londoners say

A quarter of Londoners would walk to work more often if the city’s air quality were improved, a new survey has revealed.

Responding to a UK-wide survey, 26% of those living in London said they would be willing to consider making the change, compared to 15% of people nationwide.

The survey, which asked about daily commutes, also found that 65% of Londoners said their commute put them in a worse mood, often due to transport delays.

The research, conducted for the developers Canary Wharf Group, was shared yesterday on the day of the launch of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone.

Brian De’ath, director of residential sales at Canary Wharf Group, said: ‘These survey results list the average UK commute as 33 minutes, but what would be better than almost no commute?’

The research was carried out by Atomik Research in a week in March, reaching a sample of 2,001 respondents in full-time or part-time employment.

It found that the average commute in the UK takes 33 minutes and covers 22 miles with 65% of commutes involving a car or van.

This figure compared to just 17% of people using the bike to travel and from work, while 10% did so by bicycle.

The findings come as London yesterday launched its ULEZ which will charge drivers of high-emitting vehicles in central London.

City Hall hopes that the introduction of the zone will improve London’s notoriously poor air quality with road transport the biggest source of emissions damaging Londoners’ health.

Writing for Air Quality News yesterday, Shirley Rodrigues, London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, said that the ULEZ is a ‘bold measure – but a vital one’.

‘We’re taking tough action, and it does require Londoners to adapt,’ she wrote. ‘But doing nothing simply isn’t an option, and without the ULEZ we cannot ensure London meets legal levels for air quality and make the capital an even better place to live, work and visit.’

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has insisted on the introduction of the ULEZ as London’s air quality is negatively affecting residents’ health.

Recent research by King’s College London and Imperial College London found that four Londoners are hospitalised each day due to asthma caused by air pollution.

Another recent study also warned London cyclists not to travel towards Liverpool Street station during peak times due to a high risk of black carbon exposure.