Thursday, July 7, 2022
NewsHealthNew WHO report shows health and environmental benefits of active travel

New WHO report shows health and environmental benefits of active travel

THE Scottish Government has welcomed a study, co-authored by an Edinburgh Napier academic, that highlights the societal advantages of walking and cycling.

A new report from WHO (World Health Organisation) shows that swapping driving for cycling just one day a week saves about half a tonne of carbon dioxide, about the same as a flight from London to New York.

The report was co-authored by Dr Adrian Davis, Professor of Transport and Health at Edinburgh Napier University.

It provides the latest evidence on the benefits and risks of active travel, showing that for individuals and societies, promoting active travel is good for population health and the environment.

Dr Adrian Davis at Scottish Parliament
Professor Adrian Davis outside the Scottish Parliament with his Transport Policy Paper. (C) Neil Hanna Photography

If just one in five urban residents can be convinced to permanently swap driving for cycling one day a week, it would cut emissions from all car travel in Europe by about 8%.

The report has been warmly welcomed by the Scottish Government.

Minister for Active Travel Patrick Harvie said: “I’m pleased to welcome this new report from the World Health Organisation on the many benefits of active travel.

 “This peer-reviewed publication provides the latest evidence base for policymakers across the globe on why investment in walking, wheeling and cycling is so important for our health, our cities and our environment.

“That’s why I’m proud the Scottish Government has committed to spend at least 10% of the transport budget on active travel by 2024/25.”

The health benefits of active travel are also shown clearly in the report, for example, it states active travellers have as much as a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer and a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease.

They also reportedly have a 46% lower risk of developing heart diseases and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer at all.

The report also contains the latest evidence on the benefits of e-bikes which are bringing more people into cycling, including older adults who gain a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.

Co-author Dr Adrian Davis said: “This report clearly shows that for individuals and societies active travel is good for health and that we can all play our part in tackling climate change.

“As Individuals, we can take actions which benefits our own health and that of others.

“People who walk or cycle as well as use cars have lower carbon footprints from all daily travel.

“More people switching some of their journeys to active travel would lower carbon emissions from transport on a daily basis.

“The report provides timely evidence to support policymakers and practitioners, coming as it does shortly after the Scottish local government elections.”

Related Stories