Transport, including road transport and shipping, accounts for approximately 16% of global greenhouse gas emissions (OurWorldInData.org, 2020).
In the context of a veterinary pathology laboratory, environmental impacts associated with transport include:
Privately owned vehicles used by employees
Company owned vehicles
Contractor owned vehicles including goods delivery and waste removal
Food for thought
Cars are the dominant form of transport today. Although electric vehicles have positive benefits such as decreased reliance on fossil fuels and less air pollution, they still have negative effects. There is no mitigation of traffic congestion on our roads or our low levels of physical activity and they demand a built infrastructure – roads, highways, parking spaces – that take up a significant amount of space in our communities.
Read more about these issues in Avoiding Gridlock Britain
For decades public transport and pedestrian/cycling infrastructure has been underfunded and allowed to decline in favour of private car ownership. Public transport and active travel (walking, running, cycling, e-bikes) are now seen as an overwhelming “public good” to combat global warming, road congestion, poor air quality, health problems including obesity and low physical activity levels, inequality and social isolation.
The workplace can support employees attempting to use public transport that is often inadequate. Businesses can add their voice to maintain pressure on local councils and services where service is poor.
Attractive traffic routes for cyclists and pedestrians:
Sustrans: A charity dedicated to making it easier for people to walk and cycle.
Slow Ways Maybe the best way is a Slow Way. Use Slow Ways to discover suggested walking routes between neighbouring cities, towns and villages.
Ordnance Survey maps: Freely available maps including publicly accessible footpaths, bridleways and cycle routes.
The Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust initially invested in a single e-bike as a pool bike available to all staff to trial for work travel. The Trust now have 3 e-bikes dedicated to specific clinical teams as well as a pool e-bike, and have covered 8,000 miles saving around 2 tonnes of CO2. Read their story here.
– Journey planner for UK bus, rail, coach and ferry services. National rail –
National Rail Journey planner
– for UK rail services.
The RAC – A Definitive Guide and tips for Buyers
Your local Climate Action Group is likely to have information pertinent to your area. For example see Action on Climate in Teignbridge/Teign Energy Communities, Devon who have produced a detailed review of Electric Vehicles which is available here.
Charging stations for individual vehicles – See Zapmap for a map of EV charging points or check with your employer.
The Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, a huge employer, has worked hard to encourage public transport and active travel infrastructure. Some ideas, perhaps on a smaller scale, are transferable to smaller businesses. Improvements include:
- 200 additional cycle parking spaces
- 2 cycle hubs for staff with cycle storage, lockers and showers
- 11 additional electric electric vehicle charging points
To encourage staff to use sustainable transport options the Trust introduced:
- Personal travel advice for staff
- Subsidised travel and discount schemes
- 2 public bus route stops on the main hospital site
- A Bicycle Users Group and Electric Vehicle Users Group
- Monthly cycle maintenance sessions
Read the whole story here