Throughout 2021 we're 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.
The theme for May is: Active travel
As the weather improves and COVID restrictions ease, it's time to get active and enjoy the outdoors. Walking and cycling improves your fitness, helps to make you happier and is low cost.
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.
I will replace car journeys with walking, cycling or scooting – Short journeys make a big difference to reduce climate change 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. Check out a
cycle journey planner (London Cycle Streets website) to find the safest cycling routes.
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 the accessibility of short-term car rentals, taxi and delivery services means that there many alternatives to direct car ownership.
I will explore new walking or cycle routes – Using sources such as the
clean air route finder (london.gov.uk website) or
go jauntily app can help you find more pleasant, interesting or healthier places to walk. People of all abilities are welcome to join the free
Walk4Life activities held at Morden Hall Park, Mitcham Common and Wimbledon Common.
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 over the summer. 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
buddy scheme (London Cycling Campaign website). 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.
I will encourage my organisation to 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 (London.gov.uk website) have major active travel components.
Make a pledge