We rely on transport as part of daily life; whether to get to work, school, hospital, or leisure activities. Relying on fossil fuel powered cars as our main mode of transport can have negative implications on our health and well-being due to high levels of air pollution, low levels of physical activity, and stress.
Transport emissions from fossil fuels contribute towards climate change and can increase air pollutants. In 2014, 12.77% of greenhouse gas emissions in Wales were from transport; amounting to 5.92Mt CO2e.
Climate change related extreme weather patterns may increase the frequency of which transport infrastructure will need to be repaired or replaced.
Redesigning our transport infrastructure to support active forms of travel can increase community cohesion and improve health and well-being.
There is potential to increase green jobs through renewable fuel technology development and implementation.
What the public sector is doing:
World / Europe:
The EU has a strategy for ‘low-emission mobility’ which sets out priorities of increasing transport efficiency, low-emission energy technology, and zero-emission vehicles take-up.
The UK government has a report outlying future transport plans; ‘ Low Carbon Transport: A Greener Future – A Carbon Reduction Strategy for Transport (2009)‘.
The Welsh Government has recently consulted on ‘ A Clean Air Zone Framework for Wales’ designed to advise local authorities on how to reduce air pollution from transport and other sectors.
What the third sector is doing:
Community transport providers enable isolated or disabled people to remain connected to their community.
Living Streets Wales also campaigns for better opportunities for walking and challenges the dominance of cars on our streets.
Sustrans Cymru has a number of resources and campaigns to encourage active travel and safer streets
– their ‘Bike Life Cardiff’ report sets out the challenges and opportunities for active travel in Cardiff.
How you can make a difference:
Reduce your car use where possible by working from home, taking public transport, or by cycling or walking to your destination.
Avoid flying and if you must fly consider off-setting emissions by contributing to tree planting projects.
Join a local walking group to enjoy the benefits of this free, low-impact exercise or consider setting yourself an ‘Active Travel’ goal for health reasons.