Transport is a major source of greenhouses gases, especially private car use and flights.
The Energy Savings Trust has lots of good ideas on alternatives to car use and flights plus tips on smarter driving.
My Journey is a travel awareness campaign delivered by local councils and partners, with funding from the Department for Transport, that seeks to encourage Hampshire residents to consider all the different travel choices and options open to them for local journeys.
Sustrans, in partnership with My Journey, is working with employers and businesses to provide practical support to help encourage employees to car-share, use public transport, walk or cycle for the commute to and from work. By reducing costs associated with travel, this can help businesses work in smarter ways, saving time and money which helps to improve competitiveness.
Walking doesn’t use any carbon! The local Friends of the Earth Group is putting together a plan to encourage walking in the city. Do contact them if you’re interested in joining in.
Written by Rachel Hudson
Walking reduces your carbon footprint
Walking is the most carbon-friendly means of travel there is. Changing your behaviour and walking rather than driving to the shops, your local school and to work can significantly decrease your carbon footprint as well as helping to reduce air pollution and improve your health.
Example: If you own a Fiat Punto and drive 15,000 kilometres a year, your carbon footprint from the car is 2,040 kilos. If you can substitute walking for a third of that distance over a year, it’ll cut your emissions by almost 700 kilos. Source: carboncounted.co.uk/walkingandyourcarbonfootprint.html
Other benefits of walking
Walking is a socially inclusive activity. It is almost entirely without cost and helps you get to know your neighbours and your local area. Where the balance shifts from cars in favour of walkers safety improves and a sense of wellbeing increases.
Walking can be revolutionary: A recent article in The Spectator refers to the transformative potential of large numbers of people regularly walking and “becoming active participants rather than passive spectators.” “The walker is more likely to notice changes taking place within the urban environment, less prone to the stresses and anxieties of overcrowded public transport and congested roads, not as susceptible to whisperings that the city is a place of danger, a zone from which we should seek refuge behind the gates of the latest development of luxury apartments”.
Making Portsmouth a more walkable city
Portsmouth Friends of the Earth are campaigning to make Portsmouth a more walkable city and, in particular, to get the Council and local communities to work together to create streets that are places not just corridors. To find out more about PFOE’s campaign see here or email here.
Living Streets – is a national charity that aims to create safe, attractive and enjoyable streets where people want to walk. Their website includes reports, case studies and practical advice.
Reclaim Your Streets – a community empowerment toolkit” published by Living Streets Scotland. The toolkit includes guidance on organising a street audit (here).
Written by Nicola Waight
Portsmouth is ideally suited for cycling and yet we seem to have permanently congested roads and nowhere to park...
Cycling in Portsmouth
We're so lucky to have a flat landscape (except for Fratton and Copnor bridges) and still people insist on going by car. I know the cycle lanes leave a bit to be desired but we'd have better ones in only people were prepared to give up their on street parking. Not sure I see that one happening any time soon.
I've got to admit, I used to be a car driver and still occasionally am one for work. I can see the benefits of going by car - staying warm and dry, the ability to take loads of stuff with me as I travel, arriving smartly dressed etc but before I gave up my car I couldn't truly understand the benefits of cycling.
CO2 and cycling
From an environmental point of view, cycling and walking are the clear winners in the carbon footprint race to the bottom. No fossil fuels required here. It's not as clear cut as that though. People do need energy in the form of food before they can cycle or walk anywhere and there is a carbon cost attached to that. You obviously burn more calories from walking and cycling than just by sitting in the car, 350 and 500 more calories an hour respectively. And yet cycling and walking are still far, far better than driving.
"According to the World Watch Institute, a cyclist burns around 35kCal to travel one mile while a car burns roughly 50 times more or 1,800kCal". This is before taking into account the extra kCals of energy needed just to start a car up and the fact that it will nearly always run richer and use more energy per mile for short journeys than for longer ones. If we keep in mind that the average car has "1.56 people in (it), the bicycle is at least 17 times more efficient."
The Governments Act on CO2 campaign asks people to use their car for 5 miles less a week than the do at the moment. This could be one of your 10:10 commitments if you like. It's probably one of the most energy saving ones you could make. Behind giving up flying of course.
Now we're not asking you to cycle to the London to Brighton race every day but cycling around Portsmouth is not a big ask in my book.
How far can I go?
At a steady pace of 10 miles an hour you could easily travel from the bottom of Southsea to the Paulsgrove/Portchester border in 45/50 minutes. Most journeys around the city are shorter than that. With parking the way it is you can usually get much closer to your destination on a bike as you don't have to look for a parking space and you don't have to pay for one either.
Here are 5 reasons why it's great to cycle in case you're not yet convinced.
1. It's great for your physical health.
A middle aged adult who cycles on a regular basis can expect to have the circulatory system of someone 10 years younger than them. Plus, cycling is the best all round form of exercise after swimming and has no impact on your joints like running does.
2. It's fab for your mental health.
Cycling really helps you to destress and unwind. You can take out all your aggression on the pedals and the road. Best saved for open spaces with little traffic
3. No traffic jams
With the right cycle training, there are very few occassions when you would ever need to sit in traffic. Just remember not to undertake lorries and buses as they can't see you.
4. No petrol/diesel costs.
You'll need to pay for a little bit of maintenance but when the average car bill including insurance, tax, fuel and repairs goes well over £2000 it's not even in the same kettle, with or without fish.
5. Great for the planet
And for the community, car drivers seem to always be angry with other car drivers. I can't fathom why that is. They seem to hate cyclists sometimes too but that's only the naughty ones who don't stick to the rules of the road.
Now I've given up my car I am reaping the benefits. I really enjoy cycling, I've lost weight, I've got lots of new cycling buddies too.
I can still carry loads of things with me as I've got panniers and am getting a bike trailer very soon. I can still stay warm and dry - the warm bit is easy, the exercise helps. And you just need the right kit to stay dry - and no I'm not alluding to lycra.
Now is a great time to get that bike out the shed as the council are really keen on cycling at the moment .Thanks to the Healthy Pompey funding, cycling is higher on the agenda than ever.
We have a great Seafront cycle route between Eastney and South Parade Pier and there are loads more cycling initiatives including free adult and child training to the national standard, bike recycling where you can pick up a bike or learn how to repair yours for free and fun family rides too. See here for details.
You can also get a map of cycling in Portsmouth from the Council for free. Pompey Cycle Forum helps local cyclists to get their voices heard and is really active. They're great and their website is here.