Clean air possible without lockdown
Cities can permanently achieve pandemic-low air pollution levels by accelerating the ongoing switch to zero-emission vehicles, as well as extra walking, cycling, public transport and teleworking.
Cleaner air will return faster by combing both approaches, according to a study for Transport & Environment (T&E), released one year after the first lockdowns were put in place in Europe. The report comes as governments prepare to spend nearly €700 billion in EU Covid recovery funds, a third of which is earmarked for green investments, including transport.
T&E called on mayors and governments to increase zero-emission zones, reform taxes to favour emissions-free vehicles, roll out the right charging infrastructure and zone off more public space for walking, cycling and public transport. It calls on the EU to announce a phase-out date for all fossil fuel vehicles by 2035 at the latest and tighten its 2025 CO₂ standards for cars, vans, trucks and buses.
Source: T&E, 10-11 March 2021.
The report “Blue Sky Recovery”: https://www.transportenvironment.org/publications/blue-sky-recovery-how-keep-lockdown-low-levels-air-pollution-european-cities