Travel and Transport

Most of us have to travel, either for work or leisure. Some means of transport have more of an environmental impact than others, but of course different transport modes have different advantages and disadvantages.  For example flying to the European mainland is faster and cheaper than taking the train, but has a much higher environmental footprint. We must think more carefully about not only how we travel, but why we travel. Can some journeys be replaced by changing the way we work or shop for instance?

Ideas that are free and easy to do.

  • Rather than drive for short journeys that don’t involve carrying heavy loads, consider walking.
    Impact: For journeys less than a mile or so walking can improve not only your carbon footprint but also your health and your bank balance as you’ll be getting exercise without using petrol/diesel/electricity. Even if only done on “nice” days, you can cut out quite a lot of car journeys if a conscious decision is made to walk where possible.

Low cost ideas

  • Try to cut out some car journeys into town for shopping by using buses instead.
    Impact: Using public transport such as buses is a lower impact than using a car, because whilst the bus is bigger and heavier than your car it is sharing its energy use over many more people. It is also a more efficient use of space – not only on the road but also meaning that less urban space is required for parking cars that are not doing anything. 

Medium cost ideas

  • Consider getting a bike and cycling to work/shops.
    Impact: Like walking, cycling provides you with good exercise. Cycling is faster than walking and you can go for longer distances whilst carrying more. If you worry that you aren’t fit enough to cycle, you can now get electrically assisted bikes that make panting up hills a thing of the past.

High cost ideas

  • If you drive and need to replace your car, investigate an electric car instead of petrol/diesel ones.
    Impact: Replacing an old petrol/diesel car with an electric car can reduce your running costs whilst reducing the pollution you generate. The UK electrical supply is constantly reducing its carbon footprint as coal, oil and gas are phased out in favour of renewable generating sources, so electric cars are getting cleaner all the time. Charging an electric car is also much cheaper than petrol or diesel and can be done overnight at home whilst you’re asleep. The range of modern electric cars is constantly improving as new battery technologies are introduced, with 150-300 mile ranges on a single charge now common. You can also find second hand electric cars on the market now (although these tend to have lower ranges).