Drivers in survey reverse air quality fear after lockdown
One environmental worry is that the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions could quickly reverse the recent dramatic improvements in air quality.
But an encouraging survey of drivers reveals that might not happen, says Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox.
Of the 20,000 motorists polled by the AA more than a third said they would walk and cycle more, while a fifth said they would drive less to protect the environment and a quarter said they would be flying less.
“We have all enjoyed the befits of cleaner air recently,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park, “and it is very pleasing to see motorists want to continue this by changing their behaviour.”
Scientists reported that daily global emissions of CO2 fell by 17 per cent in early April because of Government measures introduced to offset the Covid-19 pandemic.
They said half the record decrease was due to fewer car journeys, but they added that they were worried the figure could soar again as people return to work.
They point to the official advice from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that people going back to their jobs should drive rather than use public transport, especially when walking or cycling is not a viable option.
To avoid increases in traffic the AA is calling for emergency park and cycle sites to be set up on the edge of cities to help people get around on journeys where walking and cycling are not an option.
Already the government has pledged £250m for improvements in cycling and walking infrastructure and many towns and cities are already making more road space available for pedestrians and cyclists.
In the Life after lockdown survey conducted by Populus, 22 per cent, increasing to 24 per cent of those over 64, said they would drive less, but 51 per cent would drive as before with one per cent saying they would travel more.
When asked what their first trip would be once restrictions on movement have been lifted, 38 per cent said driving to see friends and family topped the list.
At present two thirds (66 per cent) of those who replied to the survey were working from home, but one third (34 per cent) were unable to do so. Overall 11 per cent, including those who were not working, said they would work from home more often once the lockdown was lifted, with this increasing to 23 per cent for those aged 35-44.
“Life after lockdown will certainly be different,” said Ron. “Some will drive less, more will cycle and walk, and working from home will continue for many, so the reductions in car journeys will cut congestion and reduce the impact on the environment. Hopefully, more motorists may be prompted finally to buy an electric vehicle.”
For more advice on green energy matters, such as electric vehicles, contact Ron on 0845 474 6641.