British cities fail test as spotlight turned on travel without a car

Britain’s major cities are among the hardest in Europe to get around without a car, according to research out today.

London (in eighth place), Cardiff (ninth), Edinburgh (11th) and Belfast (12th) were all in the bottom half of a 13-strong ease-of-travel city table compiled by the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).

The city in 10th place was Dublin.

Stockholm was judged to be the best European city to get around without a car, followed by Helsinki, Prague, Paris and Berlin.

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Only Rome, in 13th and last place, was deemed to be less “green” and public transport-friendly than those in Britain and Ireland.

The cities were judged on 16 categories, including ease of access to public transport, public attitudes to car use, congestion levels and the side effects from cars.

London had the worst air quality and congestion of all the cities examined. Londoners are also subjected to the highest fares.

Public transport in Cardiff was cheaper than in the other UK capitals, but the city had the second lowest number of public transport trips per day.

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Edinburgh was second only to London for congestion and worse than Rome or Paris. Belfast finished bottom of all the UK capitals despite having the longest cycling and public transport networks.

CBT chief executive Stephen Joseph said: “Car dependency damages communities, affects our quality of life and has huge environmental consequences, so the UK cities’ poor standing should be of major concern to politicians.”

UK Governments needed to recognise the economic benefits of good air quality and road safety, he said.