London is pacing up to become the world’s most walkable city. Londoners were urged to reach for their walking shoes on Thursday as the government launched its first action plan to get more people moving around the city on foot.

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London wants to make the British capital the world’s most walkable city for its 8.8 million people as part of a wider strategy for 80 percent of all trips to be made on foot, bicycle or public transport by 2041. His office seeks to make streets more pedestrian friendly in order to improve health and reduce air pollution in the city.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 92 percent of the world’s population lives in places where air pollution levels exceed its safe limits. A 2015 study by researchers at King’s College London showed that nearly 9,500 residents of London die prematurely as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution annually.

Joe Irvin, chief executive of Living Streets, a British charity that champions walking as a form of transport was quoted saying, “To reduce this, we need to tackle its biggest source – motor traffic. By making it easier and more attractive to walk, more people will be encouraged to make healthier travel choices.”

“Getting more Londoners to walk regularly is essential for the health and future prosperity of our city,” stated London’s first Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman.

The drive is also backed by Public Health England (PHE), a government body that recommends at least 10 minutes of brisk walking daily to improve health. It is part of a broader “Healthy Streets” initiative in which Khan has pledged to invest about 2.2 billion pounds ($2.9 billion).

If London lovers walked or cycled for 20 minutes a day, it would save Britain’s public health service approximately 1.7 billion pounds in treatment costs in relation to hip fractures, dementia, and depression over the next 25 years according to the Greater London Authority Research report.

With the growing population of London, The Walking Action Plan forecasts five million additional journeys every day, by 2041 according to the mayor’s office.

How often do you take a walk and for how long? Think about it, you might be missing out on a lot of health and social benefits. It will save you a trip to the hospital.#Rewordit


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