Reducing our carbon footprint when travelling

by | 6 March 2021 | Environment, Sherwood

The Committee on Climate Change reports that the UK has fallen behind in progress to tackle and prepare for climate change – in fact, emissions from transport have increased by 6% since 2013 and are now 4% higher than in 1990. Vehicles have become more fuel efficient but this has been offset by increasing travel demand.
A big way to reduce carbon emissions is to rethink your travel. How do you get from A to B, and how often do you do it? Here are the things to consider:

Day to day

  • Drive less. Petrol and diesel-powered cars pump out carbon emissions, so the less you drive the better. If you travel to work by car, then walking, public transport, or cycling are usually cheaper alternatives – and healthier too.
  • Cycling or walking. There are UK cycling, and walking routes around the UK and villages and towns are looking to introduce cycle paths.
  • If you need to use a car make sure it’s running efficiently and keep it serviced – the harder your car has to work to run properly, the more fuel it will use.
  • Share car rides with another person – a problem shared is emissions halved.
  • Consider an electric car. As well as having low emissions, or even none at all, EVs can be more cost effective to run.
    If you do use the car for a journey and have to wait to pick someone up don’t sit in the vehicle in idle mode as this emits harmful emissions.
  • Encourage your children to cycle to school if they are old enough.
    What about encouraging the PTA or school governors to investigate setting up routes for supervised walking or bicycle buses for children to travel to and from school?

Holidays and long-distance trips

  • A long haul flight generates more carbon emissions that the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year. There is no getting away from it; the best way to avoid it is to fly less.
  • Travelling by train is a more rewarding, low-stress alternative to flying, and it is better for the planet too – as it produces 90% less carbon emissions. There are websites on all the best routes and how to travel comfortably, such as ‘The Man in Seat Sixty-One’, and publications for advice.
  • If you can’t avoid a long distance trip or still want a holiday abroad you can always offset your carbon emissions if you can afford it. You can do this through a non-profit organisation, such as ‘Atmosfair’.
  • Remember, for the UK to deliver on its new net zero greenhouse gases target, a 20% reduction in car travel needs to be a reality in the next 11 years.

For more information about Sherwood Forest Friends of the Earth, we’re on Facebook at Sherwood Forest FoE, or email sffofe@btinternet.com.

Pauline Meechan
Sherwood Forest Friends of the Earth