At the end of October, the UK Government released its 2018 Budget. From an environmental perspective, the Budget was not in our favour; lacking the essential funding to tackle the major environmental challenges we face and giving no reference to climate change. Considering the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent report which stressed the urgency of acting now to mitigate catastrophic effects of climate change, this is clearly a questionable decision. The Budget seriously overlooks many of the problems associated with climate change, and lacks new funding and measures to tackle these issues.
The Budget did provide considerable funding for road improvements, and is delivering a large strategic roads investment package worth £28.8 billion from 2020-25. The result would be a continuation of car dominated transport and therefore higher levels of pollution.
Our charity partner Living Streets recently suggested what the Budget means for walking, air pollution, and climate change. Jo Irvin, Living Streets Executive, expressed that walking and cycling should “receive a fair share of the Government’s total transport spend”. A higher level of investment in walking and cycling would reduce traffic and air pollution, create more walkable cities, and help tackle issues associated with climate change. Living Streets has suggested that the UK Government must rethink its funding priorities to encourage walking through investment in safe walking routes, cycle lanes, and green public transport.
Although it is disappointing news that the Budget lacks investment in walking routes and green travel, we can still all take positive actions as individuals. Walking can have significant positive benefits for our physical and mental health, and getting out and about on foot helps us to engage with nature, and reduces our carbon footprint. Within most of our employee engagement Jump programmes, sustainable travel is a key feature. Whether you walk, cycle or use public transport, car share, or electric vehicles to get to work, our Jump programmes reward you for doing so. Not only will you feel better, you’ll also be doing your bit for the environment. Even if it’s not in the budget!