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Transport - Climate change

The scale of the challenge

The use of petrol and diesel vehicles in the borough makes up 19% of Merton's greenhouse gas inventory, as a result of the 600 million kilometres driven in Merton each year. Cars produce more carbon emissions than all other modes of transport put together. Emissions from buses, heavy goods and light goods vehicles also generate significant emissions.

There are 77,000 vehicles registered in Merton, 1,000 of which are ultra-low emission. By 2050, all residents, businesses and organisations in Merton must stop using petrol and diesel vehicles, in favour of walking, cycling or using public transport. Where vehicles are necessary, these will need to be replaced by low-carbon alternatives.

What you can do

Step 1 - Take action to reduce emissions from your own travel

  • Walk and cycle more – not only will this reduce your carbon footprint and help tackle climate change, but it will also benefit local air quality, help improve your physical health and mental wellbeing, and could save you money. Visit the Council's cycle web pages to access cycle training, try before you bike, request a cycle storage, or to find out more about Merton's cycle networks and quietways.
  • Use public transport for the longer journeys.
  • Try car sharing with colleagues or friends to halve your emissions and fuel bill, or use a car club.
  • Turn off your engine when idling.
  • Fly less – next time you're planning a trip, consider going somewhere closer to home or travelling by train, ferry or car. If you do fly, you can offset your emissions.
  • 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

Step 2 - Get involved in our Climate Action Group 

The Transport sub-group will be looking at how we can reduce transport emissions in Merton. 

You can also support our School Streets and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods designed to reduce traffic in residential areas and around schools.

Step 3 - Spread the word

In order to become a net-zero carbon borough, everyone working or living in Merton is going to need to play their part. You can help spread the word to get your friends, family and co-workers thinking about how they can reduce their transport emissions and take up more active travel.

Businesses and organisations

Businesses and organisations can also help reduce transport emissions in Merton, by:

  • Working with their supply chains to reduce transport emissions.
  • Avoiding investment in/ procuring companies which produce high emissions.
  • Encouraging and facilitating active travel in their staff and clients.
  • Implementing travel plans which support staff and clients to work remotely or choose sustainable travel alternatives.
  • Ceasing the provision of petrol and diesel company cars.
  • Limiting parking to essential users.
  • Implementing a cycle to work scheme for staff.
  • Investing in supporting facilities such as cycle parking and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • Avoiding short-haul flights.

What we will do  

  • Lobby for greater funding and support a national policy framework which results in an acceleration of active travel and reduced private car use.
  • Lobby and work with Transport for London (TfL) to improve the services in Merton, accelerate the decarbonisation of public transport.
  • Provide supporting active travel infrastructure and training.
  • Encourage the use of public transport.
  • Expanding pavements and increasing the number and range of cycle paths as part of Merton's Covid Transport Strategy.
  • Consult on emission-based parking charges to discourage the use of higher polluting vehicles.
  • Ensure through Merton's Local Plan policies that new developments encourage a reduction in car use and offer sustainable transport alternatives.