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Redbridge motorists clock up the equivalent of 28,000 trips around the world by driving in the borough in just one year

PUBLISHED: 18:31 29 May 2019 | UPDATED: 18:31 29 May 2019

Would you cycle if you felt safer on roads in Redbridge? Picture: Sustrans

Would you cycle if you felt safer on roads in Redbridge? Picture: Sustrans

Sustrans

Redbridge drivers could have taken more than 28,000 trips around the earth - instead they clocked up the 703 million miles on road in the borough in 12 months.

According to figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT), the distance travelled by cars, taxis and lorries in 2018 is equivalent to 28,200 circuits around the equator.

Kris Sangani of Redbridge Cycling Campaign said people in the borough need to change their behaviour.

"It is not just about cycling, it's about active travel in general, people need to walk more," he said.

"The problem is people are doing short journeys in their car when they could walk instead.

"One thing that we need to remember is that when you are in a car you are going to breathe in more toxic emission than if you are outs walking in busy traffic."

Mr Sangani said the borough should take inspiration from the mini-Holland approach to cycling in Walthamstow and the new infrastructure has made cycling a lot more feasible.

"There needs to be a behaviour change which will start to happen slowly," he added.

"But as the infrastructure changes to encourage more people to cycle and walk it will occur.

"You only have to look next door to Waltham forest."

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The DfT data showed that an average stretch of road in Redbridge saw 5,806 vehicles pass along it each day last year.

This represents an 11per cent rise since changes to local authority districts in 2009, when an estimated 5,249 motors drove through.

Across Britain, the number of vehicles on the roads is more than 10 times higher than in 1949.

Cars and taxis drove much of this increase, and account for four-fifths of road traffic today.

Martin Tett, Local Government Association spokesman warned with more motors on the go, congestion, rundown roads and air quality would most likely worsen.

He also said greater government funding was needed to deal with a £9.3 billion road repair backlog.

"If we're to truly tackle air pollution, we need government support to enable us to deliver effective local plans, and robust national action to help the country transition to low-emission vehicles and power generation," he added.

Thurrock, in the east of England, has the fastest flow of traffic in Britain, with 8,358 vehicles passing through daily, and the Isles of Scilly in the south-west the slowest with just 197 vehicles.

According to the DfT, road vehicles make up a quarter of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions, although improved fuel efficiency and growing sales of low-emission vehicles have seen CO2 pollution fall slightly since 2000, despite road miles rising.

A DfT spokeswoman said the government would invest more than £50 billion to reduce road congestion and potholes between 2015 and 2025, with further funds allocated for improving railways and public transport.

"We know we must reduce congestion while at the same time making our transport greener than ever, and our £1.5 billion Road to Zero strategy outlines a series of ambitious steps to encourage the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles," she said.

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