“Consider Your Travel Choices” says Mayor
On Saturday 22 September, Mayor of Kingston, Thay Thayalan marked Car Free Day by highlighting how our individual travel choices can impact on the health of the community and the environment.
Reminding us that tackling air pollution locally is part of a global effort to address this issue, the Mayor highlighted the achievements and continued investment the Royal Borough of Kingston is making to help residents as they decide to cycle, walk, or use public transport instead of being solely reliant on their cars.
Read the Mayor's full announcement here:
"Today, the Saturday 22nd September 2018, The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames joins other London Boroughs, towns and cities around the globe as we mark World Car Free Day.
The reason we are marking this day demonstrates our commitment to the collective effort citizens around the world are making - to create healthier environments in which we live, work, and spend our leisure time.
The United Nations in their latest Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018, have recognised that 90% of urban dwellers worldwide are breathing unsafe air. Setting the Goal 'To make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’, the United Nations continues to stress ‘that air pollution does not recognize borders, and improving air quality demands sustained and coordinated government action at all levels’. It’s therefore our responsibility, at a local and individual level, that we respond to meet these goals, for the well-being of all our communities.
Here in Kingston we are fortunate to be located by the River Thames, surrounded by some incredible spaces with easy access to central London and the surrounding countryside. Nonetheless, we continue to take seriously how we respond to reducing air pollution. As you may know the Royal Borough of Kingston on Thames has declared the whole borough an Air Quality Management Area, and continue to assess the impact of air pollution on the environment and human health.
We are encouraging our residents to embrace healthy lifestyles, and one of the ways we are supporting them is by investing in our infrastructure to upgrade and join up cycleways across the borough. The Go Cycle Programme with support funding from TfL, is enabling us to provide the improvements to our roads and built-up areas so more residents of every age can choose to start cycling around the borough safely. Many of you will have seen the the new cycleways open over the past year, and recently the completion of the popular Kingston High St scheme. We continue to press ahead with building a network of safe routes as we look to connect with Kingston Vale and to link New Malden and Raynes Park with an entirely traffic-free route.
It’s worth noting at this point that as we mark Car Free Day, that it’s a chance to review our own choices - of how we travel to work, visit our friends, or just move about the borough in our daily lives. Knowing that our own health and that of others will benefit if we choose to walk, take to our bikes, or decide to use the buses and trains, is in itself a good reason to start thinking about how our choices can make a contribution to a cleaner healthier world.
I’d like to thank you for coming along and joining us today. And I’d like to thank you for your support as we continue to strive to meet the needs of our residents, business, and visitors to the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. Today, as we mark Car Free Day it signals both our intention and commitment to the health and wellbeing of our neighbours and communities, as we face the challenges and opportunities for a healthier, more sustainable future together."