Friday, 14 May 2021

We can all travel more responsibly

We can all travel more responsibly

“I TRAVEL not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake.” — Robert Louis Stevenson.

After a year of cancelled holidays and abandoned days out, and being forced to contemplate our four walls more closely than ever, many of us are keen to get out and about again.

Britons love to travel. Over the last 60 years vehicle miles travelled in the UK have increased from 29 billion to 304 billion.

The Department for Transport forecasts that by 2050 car traffic could increase by almost half, wiping out any reductions in CO2 emissions from more fuel-efficient vehicles, if we continue to drive petrol and diesel cars and vans.

The UK transport network contributes over a quarter of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with cars the largest part of that.

During the most recent lockdown, scientists from the University of Reading monitored emissions in seven European cities. They found that CO2 levels in London decreased by 59 per cent as traffic volumes were reduced.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from travel will have to be a multi-pronged approach using zero emission vehicles, reducing our need to travel, making greater use of public transport and moving towards “active travel”, walking and cycling.

Electric bikes have become very popular during lockdown and, having just bought one myself, I can testify that it makes cycling in the Chilterns far more enjoyable.

Different travel modes have very different amounts of greenhouse gas emissions as this Department for Transport graphic shows. There’s certainly room for individual action, such as walking or cycling a short journey, using public transport more and flying less and looking for an electric car when you need to replace yours or maybe even getting rid of it altogether.


While on the subject of driving, car clubs are becoming increasingly popular. The vehicles are shared and used on a pay-as-you-go basis.

The new Henley Car Club is an initiative by the town council and Co-Wheels.

It will reduce parking congestion, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save low-mileage residents money.

For drivers doing less than 6,000 miles per year, being a member of the car share club is likely to be cheaper than owning your own car.

Members of the club can pay as they go and
Co-Wheels will take on all the worry and bills.

The cars are Toyota Yaris hybrids, which will be upgraded in time to electric cars.

To find out more about how the scheme works, or to book a car, visit the Co-Wheels website,


The Prime Minister has confirmed that the Government is bringing forward its ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 to 2030, necessitating a rapid rollout of public EV charging points.

In Henley we are helping electric car owners to find accessible charging points. The town council’s climate emergency working group has conducted a survey of Henley’s streets to find out how many households would need on-street charging for an electric vehicle because they don’t have a driveway.

This found there is a large need and we are working to address it.

We have submitted our findings to Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, to help ensure that Henley’s needs are taken account of in its forthcoming electric vehicle strategy.

Four charging points will be coming to the Mill Meadows car park in the summer.

Other sites for electric vehicle charging points are being sought so do let us know your views on where they should be located. Email

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