We are working to meet the challenge of reducing airborne pollutants PM2.5, PM10 and NO2 set by the Government, but success will also require a concerted public effort with each person doing their bit by active travel planning and reducing the reliance on the motor car for travel. This will have other additional benefits as participants will be fitter and healthier by choosing to walk or cycle more regularly and, of course, increased enjoyment of the wonderful East Suffolk landscape.
If a journey is necessary then wherever possible, try to opt for the most sustainable mode of travel available.
Cycling and walking are much cleaner, cheaper and healthier forms of travel than driving, so there are a number of positive benefits. The Suffolk County Council (SCC) Transport Plan estimates that 80% of people living within Lowestoft also work in the town which means that many journeys are short and could be done on foot or by cycle.
The Green Suffolk website gives advice on all aspects of the alternative greener travel options and free support is available to assist with travel plans and personal journey plans. You can obtain advice on safe cycling routes and general supportive information from the Sustrans website, which is a charity devoted to promoting cycling as a healthier alternative form of transport. SCC regularly updates cycle maps which are distributed through tourist information points, libraries and through the SCC cycling pages.
Local Links helps Suffolk businesses, organisations and their employees to make cost effective and efficient trips promoting sustainable travel.
Support is also available for businesses in the form of SCC grants through a Travel Plan Grant Scheme. The scheme will offer businesses up to 50% match funding towards the cost and installation of initiatives to support healthier and greener travel in the workplace. The grants have a maximum ceiling of £1000 and you can download an application form. In the past grants have been used to purchase pool bikes to cut down on short car journeys during the day and other facilities such as the provision of secure storage for bicycles.
To make bus travel even better value for money, a number of operators have offered further discounts on purchasing tickets. To find out which bus operators serve your area see the useful information on the Suffolk Onboard website.
You could consider making your next car purchase an electric one and not only enjoy cheaper motoring, but also cleaner in respect of emissions to the atmosphere. Details of local electric charging points can be found on the Zap-Map website and the site also gives general information about owning electric cars. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) provide grants for the installation of domestic plug-in charging points and this results in a deduction from the price of the vehicle at the point of sale by the dealership. The Motor Fuels Group is committed to rolling out 400 rapid EV chargers across their public fuel station network, so that many service stations will have recharging facilities.
The County Council, in partnership with Suffolk's district and borough councils, is working towards supporting and facilitating the uptake of electric vehicle charging opportunities across the county.
The Energy Saving Trust Website offers information about how, by driving ‘smarter’ you can both save money and reduce harmful emissions to the atmosphere. An example of simple action that could help local air quality is for motorists to switch off engines and avoid idling when stationary during a bridge lift at the Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft, or whenever you expect to be stopped for longer than one minute – remember, saving fuel saves you money too.
For further information on national air quality, including the latest news, air pollution forecasts, the latest measured levels and a summary, interactive monitoring, and general information about air pollution, visit the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) website.