“All I need is the air that I breathe.” Let’s hope that the air we’re breathing is clean and free from harmful pollutants. Particles in polluted air contribute to lung and heart diseases, Alzheimer’s and have even been found in unborn babies. You might well breathe clean air if you walk up to the Millennium Horse but walk along the Bath Road or London Road and it’s a different story. There are a number of air quality monitors at key air pollution hotspots in Devizes, for example at the Shane’s Castle junction and next to the Wadworth brewery. These air quality monitors measure the levels of toxic emissions in our air and are used to inform Wiltshire Council where improved traffic management is required. The traffic lights at the Windsor Drive/London Road junction and the proposed lane widening at Shane’s Castle are examples.
So how can we reduce our own contribution to air pollution in Devizes?
Firstly, we should walk or cycle for short journeys instead of taking the car, 23% of all car journeys are less than 2 miles. Devizes Town Council plan to develop the cycle path network which will make riding your bike a more pleasurable experience, with the added bonus of improving your own health and well-being.
Secondly, we can turn off our engines when waiting in car parks, delivering items and collecting children from school. Engine idling produces 2kg of carbon dioxide per hour. Furthermore, it is an offence for which you could receive a fixed penalty notice of £20.
For more information relating to engine idling go to www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/emissions/idling/
These two small steps could make a big difference to the quality of air in Devizes. Do your bit for our town so that every breath we take is a cleaner breath!
Over 30% of us Brits cycle at least monthly and a healthy 3% of us cycle every day. A bike can be found in 47% of British homes and last year we spent a thumping £33 million pounds on bikes and bike related products.
From these government statistics it could be thought that we are an enthusiastic cycling nation, but these statistics also show that only 1% of vehicular miles are made on a bike and over 60% of adults think it is too dangerous to cycle on our roads.
This reluctance to go cycling is mainly due to people’s road safety concerns, the fear of personal injury and the high density of traffic on our roads. Safety concerns, rather than our unpredictable and challenging weather, which according to the Department of Transport only deters 19% of us, are the reasons why many of us do not get on our bikes.
Safety is quite rightly a major concern and with over 4000 cyclists seriously or fatally injured on our roads each year, it is not a surprising reason for this reluctance.
This caution is preventing many of us from adopting this sustainable mode of transport, one that is not only good for our health and wellbeing, but one that is also good for the environment.
Here on a local level, the Devizes Town Council is engaging with cycling groups, organisations, and individuals to see what can be done to make cycling safer and more accessible to us all.
The Devizes Guardians support this initiative and Councillor Nigel Carter is leading our engagement and helping to shape policy.
The Guardians already challenge any housing developments without Cycling and Walking links to the town centre and have acknowledged recent local research into the potential need for more bike stands in the town but need more information on preferred locations.
Should you have any thoughts on this issue then please let us know.
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