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Air pollution

Transport is one of the main contributors to air pollution and global warming. With the number of car journeys increasing and those by foot, bus and bicycle falling, how we travel is having consequences for the environment.

Why air pollution is a problem

Air pollution can trigger an asthma attack and is thought to cause a rising number of hospital admissions and early deaths.

What is the government doing?

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is helping Britain meet plans agreed at the Rio and Kyoto summits on climate change, including an agreement to encourage cleaner fuels.

The Government aims to increase the number of environmentally-friendly vehicles on our roads, these include cars and buses. It is involved in agreeing European legislation which sets deadlines for vehicles to achieve reductions in emissions of specific pollutants.

A CO2 (carbon dioxide) labelling scheme has been launched to tell drivers and car buyers how environmentally friendly vehicles are. Cars are rated on a scale from A to F, based on their CO2 emissions - the same system already used for fridges. Labels appear in all car showrooms and inform car buyers about how they can save money and help the environment.

What you can do

We cause air pollution whenever we drive. You can help improve the air we breathe just by making small changes, for example by:

  • not using your car for short journeys
  • sharing car journeys where possible - especially on the school run
  • taking part in a car sharing scheme
  • maintaining your car - poorly maintained cars can cause more pollution
  • using public transport as much as possible
  • turning off your engine when not moving
  • think about changing your car for a less polluting one

Buying a hybrid vehicle

Hybrid vehicles will also play an important role in improving our environment. They are powered by both petrol and electricity. They improve fuel efficiency and usually have lower running costs than normal vehicles. They are also quieter and cleaner.

Car sharing

With more cars on the roads, solutions to the resulting pollution and congestion include sharing vehicles through clubs and other schemes.

Using public transport

Public transport is a more environmentally friendly option than using your car. You can use journey planner to help you find the best public transport route instead of using your car.

Walking and cycling

Walking and cycling are two of the best ways to help reduce pollution, they are also a great way to improve your fitness and save you money. Try walking or cycling to work or school instead of taking your car.

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