‘Three-quarters of Europeans approve of measures to ensure pre-pandemic air pollution doesn’t return’

Around 68% of 7,545 respondents want to see air pollution reduction policies, including restrictions on car access to city centres, kept in place.

Around three-quarters of Europeans approve of measures to protect citizens from the pre-pandemic level of air pollution,

That’s according to a new survey conducted for the NGOs Transport & Environment and the European Public Health Alliance, which suggests 68% of 7,545 respondents want to see air pollution reduction policies, including restrictions on car access to city centres, kept in place.

Four-in-five commuters who primarily used public transport before the pandemic are willing to return, with 54% saying they will start to ride buses, trams and trains again if sufficient hygiene measures are taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Madrid, Barcelona and Milan are the cities where Europeans place public transport among its most popular choices, while citizens in Brussels, Nice, Leeds, Glasgow and London, are among those who choose to walk more often in their everyday life.

Sascha Marschang, Acting Secretary-General of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), said: People have taken a deep breath of clean air and decided to keep it. Now the invisible killer is visible. Air pollution made us sick, worsened the pandemic and hit the most deprived the hardest.

“Reducing health inequalities by designing a pollution-free city transport system cannot wait any longer.”

William Todts, Executive Director at Clean Transport, NGO Transport & Environment (T&E), commented: “The challenge now is to make these ‘temporary’ sustainable measures permanent, replace polluting cars with shared, electric vehicles (EVs) and get other cities to follow suit.”

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