We can all do our bit to improve local air quality:
Use alternative transport
Vehicles are the main sources of local air pollution and walking or cycling are great alternatives, which will help to keep you fit and healthy.
We offer free bicyclist training to all adults who live, work or study in the borough. Visit the Cycling page for further information. For information on cycle routes in London and tips visit the Tfl website. If you don't have access to your own bike, why not use one of those available as part of the Barclay's cycle hire scheme. There are over 40 docking stations in the borough, with plenty of bikes.
Plan your urban walking route at Walkit.com. You can get a route map between any two points including journey time and calories burnt. You can also select the low pollution option, which will give you a walking route which minimises overall exposure to nitrogen dioxide. These routes may often be away from the busy, noisy roads. If you must drive, there are things you can do to minimise emissions:
Smarter, greener driving checklist
Before you set off:
- plan your journey to avoid road works, congestion and getting lost in order to shorten your journey time (if you have a GPS system, set it up before you start driving)
- check your tyre pressure
- remove any unnecessary weight, such as baggage and tools stored in the boot
- remove any unnecessary external fittings, such as roof racks, to avoid wind-drag (closing windows also helps)
While you are driving:
- change to the highest appropriate gear quickly - don't over-rev the engine or race along in first gear
- drive smoothly; avoid braking and accelerating harshly, and look ahead in slow moving traffic, using the vehicle’s momentum to carry you along
- avoid air conditioning to reduce fuel consumption - instead, wear appropriate clothes and make use of the vents
- turn off the engine if you are stationary for more than two minutes to avoid burning unnecessary fuel
- service the vehicle annually (or more frequently if you have high mileage) and have the vehicle checked whenever you feel it is not performing efficiently
Thinking of buying a new vehicle?
If you are, why not visit the 'next green car' web pages (please note, this will take you to a website which is external to the Council). These provide independent information about environmentally friendly cars, and also includes the list of vehicles which are exempt from paying the congestion charge (excluding the annual fee).
Alternatively, have you thought about getting rid of your own vehicle and becoming a member of a car club? Car club membership is often cheaper than car ownership. It is also thought to reduce parking demand, congestion and therefore improve air quality. The Council has provided 200 car club bays on-street. This means that virtually all residents are within a three minute walk of at least one on-street car club bay. In addition there are a number of off-street car club bays around the Borough. To find out about the different schemes offered, please visit the car club pages of the Council's website.