Throughout 2021, we are encouraging everyone in Merton to join us in the effort to make the borough carbon neutral by taking steps in their day-to-day lives to reduce their carbon footprint. Each month we're focusing on a different theme where we can all play a part in tackling climate change and support Merton's Climate Strategy and Action Plan. If you're inspired to make a difference, you can pledge to make one or more changes – some big, some small – to your routines and habits. We encourage you to share your pledge stories and tag the Council with the following hashtag: #MertonClimateAction.
For updates from our Climate Change team on climate action in Merton, and for more pledge ideas next month, you can sign up for our Climate Action bulletin.
The theme for September is: Sustainable Travel
As we return to work and school after the summer holiday, it's a good time to think about how we get around and what we can do to travel more sustainably.
In the UK, the transport sector is now responsible for emitting more greenhouse gas emissions than any other, and road vehicles account for three quarters of the greenhouse gas emissions that come from transport. Reducing the number of car journeys not only reduces carbon emissions, but it also reduces congestion and air pollution making the borough a healthier and more pleasant place to live.
September Theme: Sustainable Travel
I will walk, scoot or cycle to school/ work - Short journeys make a big difference to reduce carbon and air pollution emissions. Walking to school, to work or the local shops helps to achieve the 20 minutes of active travel a day needed to stay healthy and also means less local air pollution. Why not pledge to walk, scoot or cycle to school/ work every day this month? Check out Sustainable Merton's Air Quality Handbook for more information and tips, and use a cycle journey planner to find the safest cycling routes. Using sources such as the clean air route finder or go jauntily app can also help you find more pleasant, interesting or healthier places to walk.
I will replace car journeys with public transport – We have a range of public transport options in Merton, so for any longer journeys, why not tap into the tube, tram, overground or bus network instead of using a car.
I will consider whether I need to own a car in future – with around 10%-27% of disposable income going on the upkeep of a car, it is greener and can be more cost effective to avoid owning a car altogether. The good public transport links, the increasing range of electric bikes and scooters, and the accessibility of short-term car rentals, taxi and delivery services means that there are many alternatives to direct car ownership.
I will put an old bike back in use – To start using an old bike again, take advantage of the free bike services taking place in Merton this autumn. If you need to build up your confidence, take up the free cycle training on offer for adults and children or join the Merton Cycle Campaign's Cycle Buddies scheme. If you have a bike you no longer want, donate it to The Bike Project who have opened a drop-off point in Colliers Wood to help get others cycling.
If I do need to use a car, I will consider buying or renting a cleaner car – The average petrol car on the road in the UK produces the equivalent of 180g of CO2 every kilometre, while a diesel car produces 173g of CO2/km. Consider electric models if you're looking to buy or lease a new vehicle. You can find or request an electric vehicle charge point here.
I will consider sustainable alternatives to flying - For those of us that do fly, it is likely to make up a significant slice of our personal carbon footprint. This is because, mile for mile, flying is the most damaging way to travel for the climate. Next time you're planning a trip, consider going somewhere closer to home and travelling by train, ferry or car.
My organisation will avoid non-essential work-related travel – Many businesses are using the return from lockdown to rethink work from home and travel policies. Video conferencing has proved an effective alternative to long-distance face-to-face meetings, saving the high-carbon impacts of flying. Streamlining business transport and switching to cargo-bikes for local deliveries will make a real difference to reducing carbon and air pollution emissions.
My work-place will invest in cycle parking and changing facilities – Making active travel options easy is a great way to encourage staff to stay healthy as well as reducing emissions.
My work-place will work towards a certification that supports active travel – Working towards a quality mark is a great way to clearly demonstrate the credentials of a business. Certification schemes such as the London Healthy Workplace Award have major active travel components
- Food (January)
- Business and investment (February)
- Greening Merton (March)
- Buildings and energy (April)
- Active travel (May)
- Waste (June)