Scots are being encouraged to leave the car for journeys under two miles and enjoy the stress-relieving and health benefits of active travel, such as walking or cycling.
Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse has launched the second phase of the national Active Travel campaign, confirming a further £250,000 for local authorities to promote the initiative.
By using active methods of transport, such as walking, instead of the car for short journeys, Scots can help improve their health and well-being, save money, reduce carbon emissions and help make Scotland a cleaner and greener place to live.
• One in three car journeys are under two miles
• Nearly a quarter of all trips are one mile or less
• Road transport accounts for 70 per cent of all transport emissions
• Short journeys cause more pollution - emissions are almost double for these journeys as vehicles use more fuel when the engine is cold.
The latest campaign will prompt commuters travelling short journeys to walk or cycle to and from work where practical. Walking to and from work can provide valuable thinking time and relieve stresses of the day.
To help Scots track their progress, the Greener Together ‘Journeys’ app can be downloaded to monitor distance travelled, calories burned, CO2 emissions saved and improvements in mood.
Families around Scotland are also being encouraged to leave the car at home for traveling to and from school. This follows the findings of a number of international studies which suggest children who walk or cycle to school have improved concentration, cognitive function and mood.
Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse said: “Many of us believe we’re too busy to leave the car at home when travelling short distances. But when you’re having a busy or stressful day, often nothing is more relaxing than a ten minute walk to clear your head and cycling can greatly enhance physical fitness.
“By taking a short walk or cycling to and from work, the local shop or school, Scots are making a conscious, positive difference to their health, their mood and their environment.
“Short car journeys create more pollution per mile and it’s in everyone’s interest for us all to consider whether these are really necessary. We are rightly committed to not only reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint, but creating a more sustainable environment, improving air quality and enhancing the health and wellbeing of our people.
“While I appreciate that not everybody can walk or cycle to work, it is essential that we use sustainable alternatives to driving where possible. That is why I’m announcing an additional £250,000 for local authorities to build on the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme to promote active travel in their areas.
“Making Scotland a cleaner, greener place is everyone’s responsibility and small changes to your day can make a big difference over time.”
The Scottish Government works with a range of stakeholders including Sustrans Scotland and Living Streets Scotland. This month is Living Streets’ ‘National Walking Month’, which includes businesses promoting ‘Walk to Work Week’ (12 – 16 May) and schools engaging parents and pupils during ‘Walk to School Week’ (19 – 23 May).