The majority of households outside of the major cities, own at least one car. Cars are used for transport to work, school, the shops and leisure activities. We have come to rely on them as our main way to travel. They are convenient (can be) cheaper than a lot of public transport, depending on the vehicle, and for those who own them, it becomes second nature to jump in them, whenever we need to go out.

In the UK the transport sector is responsible for emitting more greenhouse gases than any other major sector. Road vehicles such as cars, trucks, motorbikes and buses contribute to almost three quarters of these transport emissions.

Cutting down your vehicle use is the most obvious way to reduce emissions. But this is not always possible for many. There may not be public transport to your workplace, or your school drop off may be too far to walk. Your role may not be suitable for working from home. Maybe you rely on driving for your job. If you can’t cut down, then see if you can adapt when you are on the roads instead.

Travel off-peak

When we travel on clear roads with limited stop starts and no sitting in travel, we can use our cars as efficiently as possible. If you travel during busy periods, not only can the traffic be frustrating and add time to your journey, but it significantly increases the amount of emissions produced.

Many employers are much more open to flexible working requests (adaptations to your working hours) since Covid. If you are able to, review when you travel. Can you leave half an hour earlier or later to miss the traffic? Do you need to go to the shops first thing, when you could change things in your diary to go later in the afternoon when the roads are quieter?

Travelling at rush hour can significantly increase emissions, fuel use, and stress levels!

What should you do

  • Ultimately, try to reduce your travel in motorised vehicles.
  • If you can’t reduce it, car share to minimise emissions per person.
  • But take a moment to reassess. Can you make a change to your lifestyle that will reduce the need to travel in peak times? Think of the reduction in fuel, emissions and stress!

Your chance to make a difference

To live a more sustainable lifestyle, you need to make changes. Most the time they involve rethinking and adapting. We get stuck in our ways with habits, but we can, if we want to, we can change and make a difference to planet Earth.

Can you recommend a local environmentally friendly organisation that we have missed from the Directory? – get in touch here via email, or message us through any of our social media pages so we can help support and spread the word.

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Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot