The UK has committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, which means removing from the atmosphere the same amount of greenhouse gases that we produce, including those from household and industry fuels and transport.
The Climate Change Committee, the UK’s independent adviser on tackling climate change, estimates around 60% of the changes required to reach net zero will require individuals to act.
We all need to get around – to work, to school, to the shops and on holiday. But whether we’re getting on a flight or into a car, it’s important to consider the impact of air pollution on the planet and our health. When we breathe in polluted air, we risk damage to our health, including heart and respiratory diseases, and some cancers.
Improving air quality is more important than ever – both for our health and the health of our planet.
How can you help?
Replacing a portion of your journeys – whether big or small – with a more sustainable mode of transport can make a difference. For example, swapping just one quarter of car journeys with active travel options can save the average driver £379 a year in fuel costs.
The sustainable travel hierarchy ranks different modes of transport by how sustainable they are. There are greener and more active travel options to suit all budgets and lifestyles, so everyone can contribute to achieving net zero.
Active travel is a zero-emission form of transport that gets you from A to B using just your body. In addition to being better for the environment, walking can save you money, keep you physically active and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
It can improve your mental as well as your physical health, whether you choose to walk with friends or family, take the dog for a stroll, or simply get some quiet time to yourself.
Embrace active travel with a bike, ebike or adapted cycle. You can even take the family with you with a cargo or ecargo bike. If you are new to cycling or haven’t cycled in a while, Cycling UK has some great tips on how to get started, including starting with short trips and basic bike maintenance.
Thinking of going electric? Read more about Colin and Jackie, who made the switch to electric bikes and never looked back.
Did you know that one bus can take up to 75 private cars off the road? Public transport reduces congestion and improves air quality. By taking cars off the road, public transport can help the UK get to net zero, but it’s also good for your mental health; you can read, surf the internet or chat to friends while you travel.
There are several ways you can reduce your private car journeys. Car clubs offer annual memberships that provide access to cars in your local area and allow you to ‘pay as you drive’. Most have options to book and pay through a mobile app, so it’s quick and easy to use. Check out CoMoUK’s interactive map to find your local car club.
Lift sharing with members of your household is another great way to reduce traffic, emissions and costs – split the cost of journeys and enjoy a social commute, which can reduce stress and improve your overall mental health. CoMoUK has some great information to help you plan your shared car rides.
Switch to an electric vehicle
With lower running costs, environmental benefits, and an ever-improving range of makes and models, there has never been a better time to purchase an electric vehicle. Charge at home with a domestic chargepoint, or at one of almost 24,000 public chargepoint locations across the UK.