Zero-traffic hour for capital urged

In a bid to enable people in London to cycle, walk and jog, the capital's streets should be closed to traffic for an hour every day, a former MP has urged.

According to ex-Labour minister Denis MacShane, banning vehicular traffic would allow children on the school run and people heading to work to walk, cycle or jog.

During Commons question time, Mr MacShane (Rotherham) put forward his idea to MPs, citing the example of Colombia's capital Bogota where streets are closed to traffic every Sunday.

He told Environment Minister Jim Fitzpatrick: "Why don't you take your team to Bogota - a city of seven million - where every Sunday all vehicular traffic is banned, and it becomes a paradise for cyclists, walkers and joggers?

"Why can't we shut down London for a day a week or an hour each morning to allow children to be taken to school, to allow me to be able to bike or jog to Parliament without my lungs being clogged up with the filthy fumes of our city? An hour free of traffic a day in London."

Answering to this, Mr Fitzpatrick said that although road traffic has increased by 13% since 1997, there have been "significant reductions" in road transport emissions since the year.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of London, who is responsible for improving air quality in the capital, is set to publish a public consultation on a draft air quality strategy shortly.

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