How you can help
Overall air quality in the UK may have been improving for the last 50 years, but pollution from traffic is increasing. Every year the short-term effects of air pollution, much of it from vehicle exhausts, leads to the premature deaths of up to 24,000 people and an increase in respiratory diseases such as asthma.
Similarly, greenhouse gas emissions from transport are on the rise in the UK, making it the only sector of the economy which has not shown a reduction in CO2 emissions over the past decade. Here are just a few ways in which you can reduce the impact of your travel on the environment:
- Try a different way of getting around for two days a week.
Use public transport, walk or cycle, and if you have to use the car, try car sharing with someone else.
Residents in Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge can take advantage of the Hour Car car club, which reduces the need to own a private car.
- If it’s possible, walk your children to school.
Instead of driving them take the opportunity to get some exercise before you set off for work. Childhood obesity is on the rise and it is recommended that children become more physically active. Walking to school will help maintain your child's health and give them a great start to the day.
- Drive smart.
Accelerate gradually, obey speed limits, keep your car well tuned, replace its air filter regularly and keep tyres properly inflated. All these things will ensure that your vehicle runs at its optimum efficiency, saving you money as well as carbon. A bit of forward planning enables you to combine several errands in one trip.
- Limit the amount of time your car engine is running (idling) when you're not driving.
If you are stationary for more than a minute, turn off the engine.
- If your car is more than five years old, limit warm-up idling on cold days to thirty seconds or less.
The best way to warm up your vehicle is to drive it.
- Next time you need to replace your car, consider purchasing a low-emissions vehicle such as a dual fuel or hybrid car.
- Only use your car for longer journeys.
Car engines create the most pollution while the engine is heating up, so lots of short journeys can cause more pollution than one long one. Walking one mile or cycling four miles takes about twenty minutes and will help to keep you fit and healthy.
- Fly less.
Take a holiday in the UK or use the ferry or the Channel Tunnel to get to the continent. Air travel produces three times more carbon dioxide per passenger than rail.
For information and ideas on how you could reduce the impact of travel at your workplace, see: Sustainable development.
Share your journey and share the cost. Information about car sharing in Calderdale and throughout West Yorkshire.
More about Hour Car car club in Hebden Bridge.
Environmental Transport Association| (ETA)
The association is the world’s only carbon neutral motoring organisation. Their website contains lots of information about greener driving, and how to be a responsible car user.