Going car-free

Last Sunday saw many UK towns and cities embracing World Car-Free Day:

World Car Free Day – SCARCE

ECO DRIVE | World Car Free Day 2019 – Map of London road closures | The Sun

Children play safely on closed St Albans and Harpenden roads this World Car Free Day | Herts Advertiser

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From yesterday’s Guardian:

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Pollutionwatch: how does World Car-free Day affect emissions?

Last Sunday peace and tranquillity descended on city centres across the world as many went car-free for the day

The event is not just about air pollution. It is primarily designed to show streets as places for public transport, walking and cycling as well as social spaces. It also tries to show how much better urban life can be without cars.

Working out the environmental impact of a car-free day is difficult because air pollution is influenced by the weather as well as by emissions. In Paris this year, nitrogen dioxide was estimated to be 7% less compared with the average Sunday. In one street there was a 45% decrease. In London, where 17 miles (27km) of roads were closed, a temporary air-quality monitoring site in Regent Street measured a decrease of 60% compared with the day before.

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From the Sunday Times:

 

We might be happier and healthier, too, according to Xavier Brice, chief executive of the charity Sustrans, which runs the National Cycle Network: “It sounds silly, but some of the biggest crises facing the country — climate change, air quality, obesity, mental health, loneliness — could be eased if we were less dependent on our cars.”

Nagging people isn’t the answer, he adds. Instead, the key is to make it easier for people to do the right thing and harder to do the wrong thing…

“BEST PLACES FOR A CAR-FREE COMMUTE IN BRITAIN: FROM BRISTOL TO LIVERPOOL, NEWCASTLE AND NOTTINGHAM” | East Devon Watch

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And at the first meeting of Sidmouth Town Council’s new Environment Committee, plans were being made to do something similar next year:

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Traffic Free Sundays
Members discussed the idea of having part of the town as a traffic free zone at certain times
of the year to help reduce emissions in town and also to encourage visitors and help put
Sidmouth at the forefront of green tourism as few towns in the South West had done this and
yet on the continent it was a regular occurrence. It was agreed that Sundays in July and
August would be particularly desirable for visitors to the town. It was also agreed that the
Chamber of Commerce and local businesses must be supportive of any such initiative. The
area to close would need to be agreed with suggestions ranging from the whole town to just
the esplanade being made.
RESOLVED: That Sidmouth Town Council consults Devon County Council and Sidmouth
Chamber of Commerce on the feasibility of running Traffic Free Sundays in
summer 2020.

Minutes of a Meeting of Sidmouth Town Council’s Environment Committee – Monday 8 July 2019.

   
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