Public urged to ‘leave the car if it’s not far’

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse launches the Scottish Government Active Travel campaign
Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse launches the Scottish Government Active Travel campaign

People in Aberdeenshire are being encouraged to leave the car for journeys under two miles and enjoy the stress-relieving and health benefits of active travel.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse has launched the second phase of the national Active Travel campaign and has confirmed a further £250,000 for local authorities to promote Smarter Choices, Smarter Places.

By using active methods of transport, such as walking, instead of the car for short journeys, Scots can help improve their health and well-being, save money, reduce carbon emissions and help make Scotland a cleaner and greener place to live.

In Scotland, one in three car journeys are under two miles and nearly a quarter of all our trips are one mile or less.

Road transport accounts for 70 per cent of all transport emissions and short journeys cause more pollution - emissions are almost double for these journeys as vehicles use more fuel when the engine is cold.

The latest campaign will prompt commuters in Aberdeenshire travelling short journeys to walk or cycle to and from work where practical.

Walking to and from work can provide valuable thinking time and relieve stresses of the day.

To help Scots track their progress, the Greener Together ‘Journeys’ app can be downloaded to monitor distance travelled, calories burned, CO2 emissions saved and improvements in mood.

Families across Aberdeenshire are also being encouraged to leave the car at home for traveling to and from school.

This follows the findings of a number of international studies which suggest children who walk or cycle to school have improved concentration, cognitive function and mood.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “Many of us believe we’re too busy to leave the car at home when travelling short distances, but when you’re having a busy or stressful day, often nothing is more relaxing than a ten minute walk to clear your head and cycling can greatly enhance physical fitness.

“Short car journeys create more pollution per mile and it’s in everyone’s interest for us all to consider whether these are really necessary.”