24/01/2013

Drivers Challenged To Use Cars Less

Northern Ireland’s drivers are being challenged to reduce the number of car journeys made in communities by 1%.

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy made the announcement as he launched the Active Travel Strategy.

He said: "If people considered walking or cycling for seven or more short journeys instead of using the car, this would reduce the collective distance people travel by car this year by just over ten million miles - this equates to approximately 22 return trips to the moon.

"Northern Ireland has among the lowest levels of walking and cycling anywhere in Europe. The Strategy aims to put walking and cycling at the heart of our local transport arrangements, encouraging a healthier, less stressful and, increasingly, lower cost alternative to the car for many shorter daily journeys. The Strategy aims to Increase the average distance walked and cycled here to be in line with our UK counterparts by 2020."

Government figures show the average adult with access to a car makes 670 car trips per year. Seven per cent of these journeys are estimated to be less than one mile in length.

"The Strategy is an integral part of the Executive’s wider initiatives to improve public health and the environment. As the costs of motoring continue to increase, benefits should not only be healthier for individuals but healthier for their pockets as well. My challenge to you today is to put on your walking shoes or get on your bike and help make this vision become a reality."

A number of demonstration projects are to held throughout Northern Ireland, with support to the tune of £4.3m provided by the Department of Regional Development.

Projects will be taken forward by Belfast City Council, Derry City Council, Strabane District Council and Craigavon Borough Council.

(IT)

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