By walking or cycling short journeys twice a week instead of using a car could cut the Liverpool city region’s annual carbon emissions by 130,000 tonnes. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool city region could see its carbon emissions slashed by 130,000 tonnes a year if people took two short journeys a week by walking or cycling instead of driving.
In a new campaign, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is calling for a evolution in the way people get about. He is urging people to consider whether a trip to work or school, to the local shops or to see nearby friends and family, might be better on two feet or two wheels.
According to Mr Rotheram and his team, more than half the journeys taken by car in the Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton are short ones – 5km or less – many of which could easily be taken by foot or on a bike.
By everyone ditching the car for just eight short journeys a month, carbon emissions would fall by the same amount as that produced by the population of Huyton every year. Vehicle usage is the one area where emissions have continued to grow – driven mostly by more cars on our roads.
Mr Rotheram said: “In the past year, I know that lots of us have taken the chance to get out for walks and on our bikes and have really enjoyed it. It would be fantastic if we were all able to keep up these more active ways of getting about after the pandemic has passed.”
Re-elected this month, the Metro Mayor has pledged to use his powers to create a London-style integrated transport system and to address the climate crisis through green investment.
As part of delivering on those promises he wants to make the Liverpool city region the best place to walk and cycle in the country. Millions of pounds have already been invested in safe, segregated cycleways and footpaths with plans to build a network of new and upgraded routes.
He added: “I’m investing £30m in a 600km network of cycle paths and walkways across all six local authority areas, all linked to our wider transport network. It’s a good start. But real, lasting change will take time – and I need the help of everyone across the city region.
“If we all ditch our cars just a few times a month and start taking more trips by walking and cycling, it’ll help reduce congestion and have a massively positive impact on our environment.”
As well as benefiting the environment and local air quality, active travel, such as walking and cycling, is proven to aid mental and physical health. Regular travel by bike or on foot helping to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and cut the risk of conditions like heart disease and strokes by a third.
City region Walking and Cycling Commissioner Simon O’Brien, added: “Air quality, mental and physical wellbeing, safety for our most vulnerable, climate change. The reasons for getting more active and reducing road traffic are clear and of benefit to all.
“However, I believe the biggest reason for walking and cycling around our region is because it’s brilliant. I swapped my car for my bike 30 years ago and I have never looked back.”
The campaign will be running throughout the summer and autumn and features real people from across the Liverpool city region with the message that ‘the best vehicle for short journeys is you’.