Nationwide lockdowns, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic saw the closure of offices, retail, hospitality and a range of other businesses. This led to workers across the country working remotely from home or being placed on the government furlough scheme – taking millions of cars and vehicles off the road.
With the exception of key workers or people leaving the house for essential reasons, people remained in the confines of their home for the majority of the day, reducing traffic by almost 75% compared to pre-lockdown figures.
This significant reduction in carbon emissions (a 13% decrease in the UK) was evident by the sharp increase in air quality, with transport-related pollutants the main cause of poor air quality in major cities.
According to the latest Global Plan of Action Survey, 62% of people want the UK government and local authorities to increase investment in schemes which tackle air pollution and the impact of heavy traffic.
What has changed since?
Despite the significant improvement in air quality as a result of reduced transport emissions during the lockdown period, there has been little change to habits and no fresh guidelines imposed by the government to encourage any long term benefits.
In fact, a reluctance to use public transport in fear of spreading the virus has resulted in even more cars on the road in the months following lockdown. This is why many experts and scientists believe that a detailed plan is required to reduce air pollution across the UK.
Fortunately, many local authorities are introducing Clean Air Zones to help reduce pollution levels and sharing their progress publicly. This will see a daily charge imposed on vehicles which don’t meet the minimum emission standards, such as buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and heavy goods vehicles. Read more here.
How can we reduce transport emissions?
Encourage a healthier commute – One simple way to way to remove cars from the roads would be for the government to help businesses incentivise a healthier daily commute I.E. cycling or walking.
Public Transportation – Promoting the use of existing public transport infrastructure and accelerating the deployment of electric buses and trains could play a major role in reducing emissions over the next decade.
Low-to-zero emission vehicles – The rollout of Electric Vehicle Technology is well underway and the phase-out of diesel and petrol cars from 2030 will have a significant impact.
The technology could be made even cleaner by ensuring electric vehicles are only powered by renewable (green) energy which would require a smarter and more sustainable grid. Read our guide to Electric Vehicles and EV Charging.
Hydrogen powered vehicles are also in the early stage of development but it is unrealistic to consider the technology as a viable option at this time.
If you would like to get in touch with one of our energy consultants to discuss sustainability and compliance options for your business then you can call us on 023 8028 6300. Alternatively, you can fill out our call back form and we will get in touch as soon as possible.