Take Part in London Climate Action Week

 

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It’s London Climate Action Week, an annual event which brings together world-leading climate professionals, governments, businesses and communities to find practical solutions to climate change. This year’s theme is ‘Harnessing the Power of London for Global Climate Change,’ focused on hitting net zero targets and building a resilient and strong planet, and economy.

In aid of the week, we decided to take a look at how cities can combat climate change and how we as individuals can make a difference.

 

More Parks and Trees

Green spaces not only help make our cities beautiful and more enjoyable, they can actually decrease daytime surface temperatures. A recent study conducted in Adelaide, Australia, found that additional tree canopy cover and grass cover helped decrease land surface temperature by up to 6 degrees celsius during the day.

What’s more, in central Europe, tree-covered areas have had an even more significant impact on reducing land surface temperatures by up to 12 degrees celsius.

Community gardens within cities are a great way to create these environmental benefits alongside socio-economic benefits. Shared garden initiatives can provide access to fresh produce as well as engaging youth, and encouraging their cognitive development, while helping to deter antisocial behaviour.

 

Travel Planning

For many of us, getting in the car to go to work, travel to school or go for a coffee is an easy solution, but there are alternative ways of getting out and about that are cost-effective, accessible, and environmentally friendly.

 

Workplaces

As workplaces bring their teams back to the office, air pollution is back on the rise as car usage increases. However, there are steps that businesses can take to encourage people to use public transport or bike to work. In Rotterdam, a large medical centre reduced their employee car commutes by up to 25 per cent by charging employees to park outside their office, and giving them the opportunity to ‘cash out’ on their parking spaces by using public transport.

Teaming incentives like this, and providing alternative transport modes is important. Organisations that provide services such as free or subsidised shuttle buses that connect local towns with bus or train stations achieve the greatest increase in employee public transport adoption. In addition, workplaces that provide better security for bikes help to encourage behaviour change.

Bike to work schemes are one of the most popular benefits requested by employees alongside hybrid working. By including a bike to work scheme, you not only help improve the environment but the health and wellbeing of your employees.

 

Universities

Universities can also incorporate travel planning by not just promoting public transport, but by including, or in some cases increasing, their bike storage and cycle lane infrastructure. In 2016, the University of Bristol reduced staff car usage by 27 per cent by improving bike infrastructure and providing public transport discounts.

 

Schools

Teaching the importance of our environment and how we travel is vital for children. Healthy and environmentally friendly habits learnt early on in childhood have a far more significant impact later on in life. Interactive and engaging air quality workshops are a great way to teach children about air pollution while teaching them alternative ways and routes to get to and from school.

For schools in London, TfL STARS is a year-long programme with its own accreditation scheme designed to help schools create school travel plans that are easily accessible and benefit themselves, their pupils and the residential areas surrounding them. Activities are held all year round and are a fun way to encourage children to be active and learn the impact of air pollution. This year, STARS even announced a new micro scooter competition!

 

Accessible for all

In the UK, young white males with medium to high household income are more likely to cycle, and more regularly. Often, many groups such as older individuals, low-income families, disabled individuals or BAME groups have barriers to active travel and do not have equal access to cycling and other sustainable initiatives. Barriers to cycling for these individuals are often socio-economic status, and this enables the inclusion/ exclusion of individuals to certain sports, the cost associated with cycling, and safety concerns (ie. traffic and crime).

It is important that sustainable and active travel implementations are accessible for all and are planned with a range of different needs in mind. This will help focusing on encouraging non- cyclists to start cycling and will help wider members of the population feeling included.

Cities, towns and villages need to be reimagined by putting people first with frequent and reliable transportation that has little to no emissions, and safe cycle infrastructure. Alternative modes of transport and promoting active travel not only benefits our environment, but it improves public health, relieving stress and financial concerns from GP surgeries and hospitals.

If you would like to get involved in London Climate Action Week, events are happening across the city, visit their website to see their full list of events.

 

Contact Us

For more information on our air quality workshops, examples of our work with Idling Action London and School Travel Plans, contact Lauren James at lauren.james@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or call 0207 960 2559.

Have you heard about our cargo bike projects? If you’re looking to implement a cargo bike project in your area, contact Leigh Gravenor at leigh.gravenor@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or call 0207 9602582.