There are many ways in which the Government are trying to reduce the amount of emissions produced by the way we travel.
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Low Emission Zone
The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was introduced in 2008 and is a way to help keep the capital cleaner by penalising heavy polluting diesel vehicles for using the zone with a daily charge. The area covers most of Greater London and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The daily charge runs from midnight to midnight, so if you go into the zone at 23:45 and leave the zone at 00:15 then you will have to pay for two days.
If vehicles want to drive in the LEZ without paying a charge then they need to meet certain emission requirements. Within the LEZ there are cameras which read your number plate and check it against their database of registered vehicles. The database knows if your vehicle meets the LEZ emissions standards, is exempt, is registered for a discount or if you have already paid the daily charge. The daily charge is either £100 or £200 depending on your vehicle.
For more information on the Low Emission Zone take a look at Transport for London website.
Act on CO2
This is a government scheme to help people realise how much CO2 emissions they are creating and help people understand how they can reduce them. In the UK 40% of CO2 emissions are caused by individuals from energy used in the home, air travel and driving. 21% of emissions of greenhouse gases from the UK are caused by transport.
The amount of CO2 emissions you personally responsible for is know as your carbon footprint and you can work out your footprint with the carbon calculator.
Low Emissions Vehicles
To meet the UK’s long term climate goals it will require almost complete decarbonisation of the current road transport vehicles. There is almost £400 million put aside by the Government to help support measures designed to promote the use of ultra-low emission vehicles.
From Jan 2011 motorists who purchase a qualifying ultra low emission car will get a grant of 25% towards the cost of the vehicle, up to a maximum of £5000. Some cars which qualify for this grant include: Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Smart fortwo electric drive, Peugeot iOn, Nissan Leaf, Citroen CZero, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
Car Clubs and Car Sharing
There are now car clubs and car sharing schemes available all over the UK, which means you can take advantage of using a car, without having to own one and pay for things like maintenance, tax and MOTs. Using car clubs means that you will be lowering your emissions as most of the vehicles used are new, energy efficient cars and less cars need to be manufactured.
Once you become a member, the car club will allow you to have access to a car for upwards of 30 minutes at a time. There are both local car clubs and commercial car clubs in operation all across the country. The beauty of car clubs is that you can either book well in advance, or with only a few minutes notice if you need the car last minute. Joining car clubs can be really cost effective if you only use your car for short journeys or drive less than 6,000 miles per year. Normally, you will be charged an annual subscription and then you pay-as-you-go for the actual usage of the car. The cars are parked in designated bays and to access them you use a smart card and PIN.
For more information on joining a car club, visit Carplus.
Also known as car pooling or lift sharing, car sharing is different to car clubs. Car sharing is when you find other people to share the car journey with. It is a convenient way to use a car, and it allows you to split the petrol costs. Car sharing results in less cars on the road, less green house gas emissions and less parking problems.
For more information about lift sharing, take a look at our lift sharing guide.
Walking or Cycling
Substituting some of your travel plans with walking or cycling is a great way to keep fit, reduce CO2 emissions and save money on your transport costs. You can save money by not using your car, and instead taking the train or bus for part of your journey and walking the rest of the distance. If you are commuting to work then pack a pair of trainers and put your work shoes in your bag for a more comfortable walk.
There are many public transport options across the UK and taking advantage of them rather than driving can not only reduce your carbon footprint, but may also save you some money. If you are going to use public transport often it is well worth getting a travelcard to reduce your costs rather than buying tickets everyday. Take advantage of the buses if you are in a busy town or city, use trains for long as well as short journeys and use trams and tubes if they are available in your area.