Putting the brakes on toxic air

In our latest policy report we set out our transport plan for a greener, fairer future. We’re calling on the government to roll out the Cleaner Travel Access Fund – our new policy which will ensure people who need help the most get equal opportunities to access clean, convenient transport. 

At Asthma + Lung UK, we are fighting for everyone’s right to breathe clean air. Toxic air is a health emergency and we’re asking the public to join us in calling for government investment for the Cleaner Travel Access Fund, which will support people to make cleaner transport decisions.  

Time to end toxic air

Air pollution contributes up to 43,000 early deaths every year in the UK.  It’s a risk to our lungs at every stage of life, from getting into the organs of babies in the womb, to leaving people with lung conditions feeling trapped in their homes, because it could cause their condition to become life-threatening.  

Polluting vehicles, which make up the majority of cars on UK roads, are fuelling air pollution and the climate crisis.  

It’s also a problem that we have the tools to solve, we just need the political will and courage to do so.  

To create cleaner, safer, greener communities, we need cleaner travel options – but we must make sure everyone can access them. 

Our policy in summary

Establish a Cleaner Travel Access Fund, a scrappage scheme to be rolled out to areas that implement class D clean air zones, for people on low incomes and people whose mobility is affected by lung and other health conditions to switch their polluting vehicles in exchange for a financial grant, which can be used to buy an active travel option; to fund public transport use; or towards purchasing an electric vehicle.

The solutions

We know that clean air zones are the most effective way to reduce air pollution fast. Reducing transport emissions is vital to cleaning up our air and protecting our lungs from harm. Through the Cleaner Travel Access Fund, communities will be able to unlock funding from central government when they implement a clean air zone, to ensure that local people aren’t penalised and are supported to transition to cleaner transport.  

As part of our research, we spoke to the general public and asked them what was stopping them from using cleaner transport, what support they might need, and their views on air pollution. We know more investment is needed to make cleaner travel more convenient. 

The Cleaner Travel Access Fund will be most effective when supported by the following enablers:

  • Ramp up investment in cycling, walking and wheeling to make active travel safer to encourage use, easier for people with mobility issues, and more inclusive for people who would like to use active travel.
  • Ensure local authorities have sufficient funds to improve their public transport offering and make it more affordable, making the scrappage scheme more attractive to those eligible for the Cleaner Travel Access Fund and increasing the likelihood of use in wider society.
  • Review the use of additional incentives to purchase electric vehicles such as direct measures like help with utilities, and indirect measures like improving the electric vehicle charging network.
  • As many people on lower incomes cannot afford to drive, these enablers will ensure that those without cars can enjoy more affordable, convenient public transport, and safer, more accessible active travel.

Currently, delayed and unambitious air pollution policies will force another generation of children to grow up breathing air so dirty that it can affect their lungs for life. We hope this campaign will encourage policy makers to take air pollution seriously and protect the nation’s lungs from harm. 

To find out more, download:

Our petition calling for the Cleaner Travel Access Fund

We’re asking the public to add their voice to our calls for support for people to switch to cleaner forms of transportation and ensure that everyone has access to them. We’re also calling for better cycling routes, cheaper and more connected public transport, and support for electric vehicles, to make cleaner travel more accessible.