What can I do to reduce vehicle pollution?

It is not necessary for everyone to stop using cars altogether - what is important is that people use their cars sensibly. Before each journey, ask yourself "Do I really need to use the car?" Consider the following options or go to Transport for London's Journey Planner.

Croydon has an excellent public transport network including Tramlink, the 28 kilometre, environmentally-friendly light rail system that links Croydon with New Addington, Beckenham, Elmers End and Wimbledon. Using it also allows you to avoid the stress of peak-time traffic by letting someone else do the driving.

On yer bike!

Cycling can be a lot quicker than public transport or a car as well as a very pleasant way of getting around, particularly if you can use cycle tracks for part or all of your journey. Sustrans, the sustainable transport campaign group, has cycle route maps and guides including those covering the 27 traffic-free routes in and around London.

For comprehensive information on cycling click on the council's website under walking and cycling. Also check the Croydon Branch - London Cycling Campaign website.

Walking

Physical exercise is good for both your physical and mental health - it helps to reduce stress levels as well as toning muscles and burning calories. For more information please see the Walking Healthy Initiative website.

There are lots of local walks you could include in your walk to work. Or, if you just want to walk for pleasure check out the Ramblers Association website.

Why not save money and car share?

Car sharing is when two or more people travel together in the same car. It gives them the convenience of a car while reducing travel costs and congestion.

It can be used for just about anything - going to work, doing the weekly shopping, running the children to school, or taking in a show or sporting event. For more information please see givealift.com, the South East London car share website.

The council's car share database is part of the wider South East London scheme. It has been designed by LiftShare, the UK's leader in car sharing website, and is linked to Liftshare's national database of 25,000 registered members. Over 50,000 journeys are logged every month by its users. For more information please see Liftshare.com.

When using your car

By driving economically - for example, accelerating gently and obeying speed limits - you use less petrol. Not only do you save money, you produce less pollution and reduce the likelihood having an accident.

Also, consider leaving your car at home one day a week or fortnight. By using public transport, car sharing or a sustainable method of travel (walking or biking) to get to work and about, you can improve your level of fitness and the state of the environment.

Change your working routine

Ask your employer if you can do flexible working. By starting and leaving work during non-peak traffic periods, say, 8am to 4pm or 10am to 6pm, you will contribute less to congestion and produce less pollution as a result of not idling in traffic jams.

Or, if possible, consider home working. Doing so one day a week would reduce the pollution you produce by approximately 20% per week.

The school run

If you drive children to school every day, make sure they understand the downside of the school run and that there are other ways of travelling. Suggest, or insist, they walk or ride a bike to school one day a week and lead by example. Also, encourage their schools to organise pedestrian and cycle training lessons or become involved in a Safer Routes to Schools programme. This will build your children's confidence that they can get to school on their own and give you better peace of mind.

For more information about transport, travel, the environment and road safety for children see the Young TransNet website.

Minicabs

Minicabs give you the convenience of a private vehicle without adding to congestion on the roads and in parking area. They can be used to go to and from the supermarket or shopping areas as well as for a night out.


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