Driving down city carbon emissions

By on 26/03/2010 in News

One of the key specific actions which is being promoted through the Birmingham Climate Change Action Plan 2010+ is a campaign to promote wallet-friendly driving styles. 

The plan, due before Cabinet on Monday (March 29), has a long-term aim to “decarbonise” transport through the use of electric vehicles. 

In parallel to this, green driving techniques will be promoted to motorists that help cut emissions and save costs.

These include:

• Before driving: planning the shortest route in terms of distance, time and fuel use, ensuring tyre pressures are correct, clearing out any extra/unnecessary weight in vehicles, and having them serviced regularly
• While driving: speed up and slow down smoothly, change gears at lower revs, switching off engines if you're likely to be stationary for more than three minutes, and not using air conditioning unless essential

A report produced by environmental think-tank Forum for the Future in 2008 suggested that by adopting these good habits, a typical motorist who drives 10,000 miles a year could save 10 per cent of their fuel (£10 a month), a figure based on fuel costing £1 a litre - which means based on current prices they would save even more.

Locally, road transport currently accounts for a quarter of Birmingham's carbon emissions, with 1.25 tonnes produced per capita through transport in 1990. This rose to a recorded high point of 1.57 tonnes in 2005.

The driving tips - inspired changes made to the driving test in 2008, the national Act on CO2 campaign and the city council's TravelWise initiative - are seen as part of the solution to cut this figure to 0.66 tonnes by 2026, equivalent to a reduction of 48 per cent when compared to 1990 levels.

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham, thanks to its rich industrial heritage, has a reputation for being a motor city.

“That is why - despite the exciting plans we have for the city to be at the forefront of the green vehicle revolution - we need to look at things that will enable us to reduce emissions from existing forms of transport.

“The simple tips we want to promote will make a big difference as we begin the transition from fossil fuel to low-carbon technologies. I would urge all motorists in the city, from commuters to taxi and bus operators to those running haulage firms to take these points on board when on the road.”

For more hints and tips on greener driving, please visit: www.birmingham.gov.uk/greenerdriving


Notes to editors

1. Although the planned carbon reduction for transport for 2026 is not 60 per cent when compared to 1990 levels, the overall proposed cut when factoring in all relevant elements (such as housing, energy generation etc) is. Full details are contained within the Climate Change Action Plan 2010+

2. The Birmingham Declaration, a seven-point “quick win” plan to cut the city's own carbon emissions between now and 2015, which was approved by council in December 2009 before the Deputy Leader of the council attended the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen later that month.

3. Birmingham was awarded a Green Flag for tackling climate change and reducing CO2 emissions by the Audit Commission in the city's Comprehensive Area Assessment in 2009. Green flags are awarded when it is judged that there is exceptional performance or outstanding improvement in a specific area of work which other towns and cities could learn from.

4. TravelWise is a national scheme to encourage people to think about the impact that their daily journeys have on the environment, their community and on their own health. In the West Midlands, TravelWise aims to: help reduce local pollution, reduce road congestion, improve people’s health, improve the local environment through cleaner air and lower noise levels, free up land which would otherwise be used for car parking and help reduce demand for parking. TravelWise operates a number of schemes to help people to travel more sustainably including Company TravelWise for businesses (incorporating car share Birmingham), Community TravelWise for community and faith groups and School TravelWise for schools

5. A factsheet, underlining Birmingham's green credentials, is available.


For further information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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