Poll results come only days after the government instructed councils to reallocate space for cyclists and pedestrians in order to support social distancing as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased
The majority of the British public support proposals for weekly car-free days in town and city centres, according to poll results published yesterday.
The results of a YouGov poll commissioned by climate charity Possible reveals that 54 per cent of respondents support the closure of town and city centres to non-essential vehicles once a week in order to open up space for pedestrians and cyclists.
The results come just days after the government provided councils with new powers to reallocate space to cyclists and pedestrians as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased, but social distancing measures remain in place. The government revealed that it had fast-tracked the relevant statutory guidance on Saturday, as it unveiled the details of the first £250m tranche of an unprecedented £2bn multi-year cycling and walking funding package.
Possible director of innovation Leo Murray said the poll results were "a timely reminder that local politicians should not be scared of being shouted at by Jeremy Clarkson and his friends over moves to cut traffic, because the majority of the British public want urgent action to make walking and cycling safer where they live and work".
He argued that in the past "fear of the motoring lobby" had prevented politicians from acting on solid evidence that measures to reduce traffic can improve quality of life while curbing carbon emissions.
The new findings suggest enthusiasm for cycling and walking is prevalent in the capital. Almost a third of Londoners polled said they would "strongly support" closing streets to vehicles once a week and 46 per cent were in favour of diverting road building funding towards cycling and walking infrastructure.
Nearly 1,700 adults across the UK were surveyed for the poll between 7 and 11 May.
Murray said that he hoped that the "incredibly positive" results would give "courage to city and town councillors across Britain who have been told that they must act immediately to head off the threat of a traffic tsunami when lockdown is lifted".
Support for active travel measures is building as the UK's lockdown restrictions ease. Over the weekend, a coalition of nine NGOs published an open letter to the Transport Secretary, Environment Secretary, Chancellor, leaders of local and regional authorities, and city mayors calling for a "street revolution to stop air pollution bounce-back" as lockdown measures lifted.
The group - which includes Greenpeace UK, Living Streets, Cycling UK, Transport & Environment, and CPRE - is calling for at least £6bn in funding over the next five years and for a transformation of the UK's streets to deliver cycle lanes on all main roads and the creation of pedestrianised 'Mini-Hollands' in all towns and cities.
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