facemaskCars don't pollute, people do! How much difference to clean air can we make as individuals? Is our behaviour responsible? Should it change, if so how might it?

These knotty questions are being hotly debated.

....but we'll restrict coverage for now to two expert sources, from our supporters at National Clean Air Day, and from a local academic expert whose work is closely concerned with these questions.

Clean Air Day - https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/reduce-air-pollution

The quick-fire slogans from this national organisation are as follows:-

  1. Use your feet, take to the street
  2. Switch your engine off when stationary
  3. Drive into the future
  4. Make the courier do the carrying
  5. Save your log-burner for the bleak midwinter

....and more ways they list to help keep the air we breathe clean:-

  1. Give your car a holiday
  2. Regularly service your car & boiler
  3. Consume less energy = produce less pollution
  4. Keep your car tyres inflated
  5. Switch energy suppliers
  6. Recycle your compostables

An academic perspective summarised

Caroline Bartle, Researcher from UWE's Centre for Transport and Society, and Bishopston resident, recently identified five areas on behaviour change and air quality:-

  1. Car clubs, car sharing, parking management, and the potential for electric vehicles to improve air quality
  2. Walking, cycling, bike-share schemes, and demand-responsive bus services.
  3. Packages of measures to encourage sustainable travel (e.g. so-called travel plans centred around organisations such as a school or workplaces).
  4. Personalised travel information
  5. Transport telematics (e.g. real-time information, e-ticketing)

..and amongst other things advised:-

  • As individuals, try not to think of the car always as the default option. Try and use other options if they are possible, then spread the word and encourage others.
  • If organising a local event or activity, suggest alternatives to single occupancy car as the de-fault option to those interested in attending.
  • Perhaps within community and social groups, set goals and pledges to reduce their car use. Encourage ‘small steps’, e.g. initially using alternative modes on some days, rather than every day.
  • Spread the word about positive developments in local transport – for example, it’s normal to be negative about buses, but let’s share the positives when they do happen.
  • Keep up to date with the developments in real-time information and apps which can improve the experience of using public transport. Tell others about them, and help others to benefit even if they don’t use a smart phone (e.g. ring someone up and give them a real-time travel update!).

For more details, please see "What can we do to clean up our air? Travel behaviour and sustainable transport, self-help and community-based strategies for clean air, how international research can inform local actions" by Caroline Bartle, published as one of Bishopston Society's series of occasional papers.


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