Sustainable transport and emission reduction
Transport emissions in Kent and Medway are the primary source of nitrogen dioxide pollution which has led to many Kent & Medway towns experiencing NO2 concentrations above EU limit values. According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is estimates transport contributed approximately 25% of the total emissions of CO2 in Kent and Medway in the 2005-2009 period. The combined financial cost to our society of air quality combined with greenhouse gas emission and physical inactivity has been estimated to be between £15bn and 23.5bn per annum (PDF). Whether you are a business or an individual, we all make choices on a daily basis about how we get around. Can those choices be greener, more sustainable, financially beneficial and healthier?
We all know they can be, but sometimes we need help, guidance and information to make those decisions.
Public Transport and other sustainable travel options:
Bus – A good source of information is held on the Kent County Council (KCC) website or alternatively the individual districts where information on town specific transport including park and rides is also available.
Train – Southeastern are rapidly improving walking and cycling access to their sites and provide the rail service across the Kent area. Long distance rail journeys are also more sustainable than air travel particularly for journeys to Paris and Brussels on the Eurostar from Ebbsfleet.
Car Share – Sharing a journey can save you a lot of money. To find out more about how to get involved as an individual or a business, go to the kentjourneyshare website
Zipcar - Zip Car offers self-service cars for hire. The cars are collected from, and returned to, dedicated parking spaces in town and city centres locations throughout the UK, including Maidstone.
Walking and cycling have the potential to improve fitness, diminish obesity, and reduce noise, air pollution, and greenhouse gases associated with travel. Just half an hour a day of walking or cycling can halve the risk of developing heart disease. Over half of the daily trips that people make are short and provide an opportunity for physical activity that is free and accessible. The National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recently stated that cycling and walking should become the norm for short journeys, and this has been reported on the BBC News website.
- Explore Kent - a site full of sustainable transport routes
- British Cycling
- Sky Ride - British Cycling and Sky have come together to help get even more people riding their bikes.
Green Business Transport:
Green Fleet Solutions - For business fleets to have the most sustainable fleet, they need the right vehicles for the right jobs. Choosing that fleet can be daunting but there are many ways of getting some advice, either through contacting the KMAQP, consultants, Energy Savings Trust or KCC’s South East Carbon Hub. The SE Carbon Hub can also provide assistance on the wider sustainability agenda.
Travel Planning – this can be in the form of personal travel plans or business travel plans, involving car share schemes, cycle improvement packages, car park management and flexible working practices. There is a lot of advice on the internet about travel plans, but KCC has a wealth of experience and is a good place to start.
New Ways2Work - New Ways 2 Work is about local authorities, businesses, transport providers and other organisations working together to help keep Kent moving. The initiative seeks to assist employers and their employees in reviewing their travel patterns and behaviour. It also promotes a range of resources and incentives to encourage sustainable travel choices.
Low Carbon Technologies and Fuels:
The appetite for alternative fuelled vehicles, including electric vehicles is growing and rapidly (79.1% growth in 2011). Which technology is best for you depends on your requirements and the demands on that vehicle.
Electric - Affordable electric motoring will be here sooner than you think. The range of these vehicle types and the costs are decreasing and small electric vans are already available. The number and variety of these vehicles is set to expand exponentially in the coming year. If you already have an electric vehicle and want to know where to charge your car, a National registry has been developed and the maps will be on the way. In the mean time try the UK electric charging points map.
Gas – Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquefied Petroleum gas (LPG). These vehicles offer better environmental performance, are cheaper to run and have a longer range than electric vehicles.
Hybrids – Hybrid vehicles are good if you do a lot of stop-start driving such as in a city and can accommodate longer journeys, however if you are mostly doing motorway driving hybrids may not be your best option economically.
Hydrogen – watch this space, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are coming, but it may be some time before they become commonplace.