Active and healthy travel encouraged by Oxfordshire County Council


Commuters returning to work after the bank holiday are being encouraged to walk or cycle, for all or part of their journey, by Oxfordshire County Council.

The council is championing healthy alternatives to the car, which will also help to reduce congestion and pollution on the county’s roads.

Exercise is widely recognised as one of the best ways to improve physical and mental health. Daily physical activity lowers the risk of depression and dementia by around 30 per cent according to the Department of Health.

Exercise also reduces the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and strokes.

The council has appointed an active and healthy travel officer, using central government funding, to assess existing walking and cycling routes. Priority will be given to improvements and maintenance schemes designed to encourage active travel and reduce pollution.

Research by DEFRA found that overall air pollution reduces the life expectancy of British people by an average of six months, a figure higher than caused by second-hand smoking and road traffic accidents.

Over 85,000 new jobs and 100,000 new homes are planned in Oxfordshire by 2031. The council is committed to ensuring that as the population grows, infrastructure is in place to encourage healthy travel options. Streets and spaces will be developed to put first the needs of pedestrians and cyclists.

The council is currently working with engineers on improvements to the A40 from Eynsham into Oxford. There are plans for a new park and ride at Eynsham and a cycle route into the city.

Across east Oxford, improvements are being delivered as part of the Access to Headington project. This includes enhanced provision and priority for cyclists and pedestrians across 6.5km of highway network.

Oxfordshire County Council's Cycling Champion, Councilor Suzanne Bartington, said: “Active travel is win, win, win - for health, the environment and local economy. I encourage Oxfordshire residents to try foot or bike even for only part of their journey and feel the positive benefits for themselves.”

For further information about the benefits of active travel, visit the website: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/whycycle