Thursday, 20 March 2014

What to do about car emissions: Exeter

It's not just further afield where smog is an issue:
A lot of people commute into Exeter - but how to handle the pollution levels?
The County Council are trying to encourage us to use our cars more responsibly:

Sustainable Travel

Cars, Car Clubs and Car Sharing

We know that for many short journeys we could walk or cycle but in a large rural county like Devon we often have to depend on our cars. (TravelWise suggests that we all think before we travel and ask if a car is really necessary for our trip)

Select Car Sharing to find out more about cutting your travel costs, reducing congestion and air pollution.

Car Clubs
Car Clubs are well established in Europe and are now being successfully launched in Britain. A car club is an arrangement where a group of people pay an annual membership fee of approximately £100 per year for access to a shared vehicle. The group leases one or more new cars which are available for short hire periods to the members, who pay an hourly rate and a mileage charge.
This system offers an alternative to -
  • People who want occasional use of a car without the bother of owning one.
  • People who currently run a car which is used infrequently.

For further information
Car Clubs

Driving Behaviour
We can minimise the environmental impact and cost of our car journeys if we make small adjustments to the way we drive. Good driving habits could reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 10%.
Are you a good driver? Do you always bear these points in mind?
  • Driving off straight away is better for a cold engine, than allowing it to warm up by idling. Using as high a gear as possible will minimise initial cold start emissions.
  • Accelerating hard, braking sharply and driving aggressively is costly on fuel and the environment as well as being dangerous. Driving more slowly is not only good for road safety, but saves fuel. Driving at 70mph can use up to 30% more fuel than if you were to drive at 50mph. Thinking ahead means you can drive smoothly, avoiding sudden braking and sharp acceleration. This reduces fuel consumption and emissions and helps to cut down on car and tyre wear.
  • Regular maintenance of motor vehicles ensures the engine is kept in tune, thereby cutting down emissions. Skimping on servicing will probably cost you more in the long run anyway. According to the DETR 90% of badly polluting vehicles can be re-tuned within 15 minutes.
  • If you expect to be stuck in a traffic queue for more than a couple of minutes switch off your engine. In winter replace the choke.
  • Inflating your tyres to ensure they are at the correct pressure will also increase the life span of your tyres.

Try And Do Your Share for Cleaner Air
  • Avoid overfilling your car with petrol as spilled fuel evaporates releasing hydrocarbons into the atmosphere.
  • Try and park your car in the shade if possible because the sun on a hot engine increases emissions causing a kind of smog that can trigger asthma and other breathing conditions.
  • Don't leave heavy objects in the boot of your car or on your roof rack unnecessarily as this also increases fuel consumption.
  • Don't make lots of short trips in a day - try to combine them. Short journeys, of less than two miles, when the engine is cold pollute up to 60% more per mile than when the engine is hot.
  • Remember, always drive with consideration for cyclists and pedestrians.
If, while you are doing your bit by driving well, other inconsiderate drivers with smoky vehicles annoy you then it is possible to do something about it. Note the registration and type of vehicle, the date, time and place you saw it and company name if it is a commercial vehicle. Report the incident to the Vehicle Inspectorate Enforcement Group.

For further information
Devon Drivers' Centre is a specialised wing of Devon County Council' Road Safety Unit. The centre provides practical training and education for anyone who uses roads

Eco Driving


Make modest changes to your driving and adopt an ‘eco driving’ style to:
  • use less fuel on every journey made
  • save money
  • reduce your CO2 emissions
  • be a safer driver
Watch this 20 minute film for your Eco-safe driving tips.

The comprehensive advice includes smooth gear changing, braking and acceleration, anticipation of road hazards, tyre pressures and awareness of other road users’ behaviour.

For further information Environmental Transport Association

Cars, Car Clubs and Car Sharing

But there seems to be a lack of 'joined-up' transport policy for the city...

Exeter couple lead way in campaign against scrapping free travel for pensioners using hospital bus service

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: March 10, 2014

AN Exeter couple are leading the way in a campaign to stop the scrapping of free travel for pensioners using the city’s hospital bus service.
Miriam and David Leach from Pinhoe, are fighting stop Devon County Council axing the popular PR3 service to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital from the National Bus Pass Scheme. A special return fare of £1.20 is being offered on the hospital bus instead.
Mr Leach, 73, is booked in for numerous appointments at the hospital over the next six months and Mrs Leach, 65, said it was important she accompany him.


Mrs Leach said they were “amazed” by the county’s decision which she learned of through the Echo.
She said:“ It is disgraceful, the bus passes were given to eligible people to help with their travelling costs. The people who use this service, and for some people this is a frequent necessity, should not be penalised in this way.
“By using the bus service people are cutting down on vehicles entering Exeter with all the congestion and air pollution that this incurs."


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