UK 'would hit key climate target' if everyone left car at home one day a week

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Campaigners want to slash vehicle use to help hit net-zero commitments (Image: Getty)
Campaigners want to slash vehicle use to help hit net-zero commitments (Image: Getty)

Giving up driving for one day a week would be enough to meet Britain’s climate change pledge for the next four years, researchers have revealed.

The UK would hit one of its key environmental goals of slashing emissions by 1.5million tonnes of “carbon dioxide equivalent” every year if every motorist left their vehicle at home just once every seven days and walked or used public transport instead.

Analysts from the Midlands Connect think tank calculated the potential value of ditching vehicles.

They said that 43.6m tonnes of carbon dioxide are generated each year in Britain.

Drivers can avoid pumping an estimated 6.2m into the air by not using cars just once a week.

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UK 'would hit key climate target' if everyone left car at home one day a weekCarbon emissions from vehicles are a key factor in climate change (Tim Graham/Getty Images)

The analysis includes all driving - for work, leisure, shopping and ferrying children to school.

The think tank said: “This data assumes that each day sees an equivalent amount of driving, and that driving tasks are replaced on the day with carbon-neutral transport, not by moving the tasks to another day.”

It stressed that every journey made by rail instead of by a diesel or petrol vehicle creates 76% less carbon dioxide.

Such a big reduction in carbon emissions as generated by leaving cars parked once a week would bolster attempts to meet the carbon reduction pledge issued at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The November 2021 conference set a target of securing global net-zero emissions by 2050, and to not let global warming exceed 1.5C.

Midlands Connect head of strategy Richard Bradley said: “The main challenge in the transport industry is clear - to decrease reliance on fossil fuel vehicles.

“Our partners, including councils, are doing a great job in moving transport in this green direction, and we support them wherever we can.

“These figures show what action individuals can take.

“But alongside that we have a plan to decarbonise transport across the Midlands, including faster rollout of EV (electric vehicle) charging, and better, greener public transport.”

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