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Press Release 10 November 2021

New research reveals better incentives and infrastructure would encourage transition to low carbon transport

  • New research from Energy Saving Trust reveals that more incentives are needed to transition to low carbon transport, with 45% of people wanting cheaper options and 35% wanting more efficient infrastructure.
  • While almost all adults recognise that their personal travel habits have an impact on climate change, carbon emissions are one of several considerations when it comes to choosing modes of transport.
  • Convenience and cost were ranked as high considerations for people choosing how to travel.

64% of 2,000 UK adults surveyed agree that carbon emissions are an important influence on how they choose to travel. The research also revealed that people would be inspired to choose a low carbon option if they were cheaper and supported by better infrastructure, such as electric vehicle (EV) charging points and better public transport systems.

Public awareness of the impact of their actions on the environment is high. The poll revealed that 9 in 10 people acknowledge the impact of their personal travel habits on climate change. However, more steps are needed to encourage more people to make the transition to low carbon transport and change behaviour in the long term.

Within the last 18 months since the start of the pandemic, our travel habits have changed significantly, with the poll revealing that 41% of us are walking, running or cycling to our destinations more often. However, with the lifting of restrictions, we are in danger of carbon emission levels returning to pre-pandemic levels.

With transport being a key focus at COP26, policymakers, businesses and the public are focusing on how to decarbonise travel to reach net zero. Changing public travel habits to prioritise low carbon and active travel is key to achieving this.

Energy Saving Trust has seen first-hand how initiatives can enable positive and lasting change. One example is the Plugged in Communities Grant funded by Transport Scotland that enables greater access to electric vehicles (EVs) for not-for-profit housing associations, housing cooperatives and community groups in Scotland. The scheme offers affordable access to the benefits of modern electric vehicles and reduces the need for individual car ownership.

Tim Anderson, head of transport at Energy Saving Trust, said:

“The impact of the pandemic has made unprecedented changes to how we travel and it’s incredibly encouraging to see people adopting active travel options such as walking, running or cycling more. This presents a major opportunity to sustain a seismic shift in our travel habits and we absolutely must make the most of it if we are to decarbonise the UK’s transport systems.

“The crux of this research is that if we’re to continue to drive change, we must make low carbon and active travel more accessible. We know that concerns around the infrastructure to support a transition to EVs are common, as are the difficulties that many face with accessing public transport or active travel options. By incentivising the public to make these choices, and with committed and sustained investment, we can ensure that the most convenient and cost-effective option is also the lowest carbon option.”


For more information contact / 07528 856405

Energy Saving Trust

Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation dedicated to promoting energy efficiency, low carbon transport and sustainable energy use. We aim to address the climate emergency and deliver the wider benefits of clean energy as the UK transitions to net zero.

We empower householders to make better choices, deliver transformative programmes for governments and support businesses with strategy, research and assurance – enabling everyone to play their part in building a sustainable future.

Last updated: 10 November 2021