Car-free day: Action call as figures show more cars in Oldham

New analysis by the Clean Cities Campaign shows the number of private cars owned in Oldham has increased by nearly 17 per cent since 2012,

It shows a rise from 77,020 private cars a decade ago to 89,735 in 2022.

This is higher than the rate of increase for England, which increased by 12 per cent.

Nearly 97 per cent of cars in Oldham use petrol or diesel fuel.

Campaigners are calling on the leaders to rethink positions on a Clean Air Zone and to speed up its transport plans, including proposals for pedestrian-priority streets and the Bee Network.

Oliver Lord, UK Head of Clean Cities Campaign said: “There’s a simple formula here – more cars means less space for people and dirty air. Greater Manchester deserves London-style public transport and bike lanes but not London-style air pollution.”

There has also been a year-on-year increase in car registrations across the city region.

In Greater Manchester, there are now more than 1.12 million private cars and 96 percent use polluting petrol or diesel engines.

Dirty air already contributes to more than 1,000 early deaths a year in Greater Manchester and lifelong illness for many people, starting at an early age.

The Clean Cities Campaign released the analysis on World Car Free Day (Thursday, September 22) to raise awareness of car dependency.

New Clean Cities analysis shows that a car-free day every Sunday in Greater Manchester could save up to 800,000 barrels of oil a year.

Jemima Hartshorn, founder of Mums for Lungs, said: “Children in Manchester deserve better. Toxic diesel fumes are stunting the lungs of children growing up in cities and causing lifelong illnesses.

“If a charging and effective Clean Air Zone is not the answer for Manchester then we need to know what will be done to protect the health of the most vulnerable in our society.”

Tim Dexter, campaigns manager for Clean Air at Asthma + Lung UK, said: “Greater Manchester has some of the highest rates of lung disease and childhood asthma emergency admissions in the country and when you look at the exponential growth of car ownership over the last decade, it’s clear to see why – people are literally choking on toxic levels of air pollution, of which vehicle emissions are a leading source.

“Introducing regular car-free days in the city center and beyond would not only offer some reprieve to those with lung conditions such as asthma and COPD, it would also encourage people to have a go at incorporating public transport and active travel into their daily routines .”

The Clean Cities Campaign analysis can be read here.

Oldham Council and TfGM were contacted for comment.

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