My Account

How to decrease your carbon footprint

According to the Government, 33% of the UK’s carbon emissions comes from transport. 

The more that we choose to drive and fly the more fuel that we burn, and the larger our own impact on the environment. By walking more, flying less, sharing your journeys and using public transport you could save money and help reduce your own carbon footprint.

Road transport is also the biggest source of outdoor air pollution in Richmond upon Thames. While invisible, polluted air is the largest environmental risk to our health and can impact the most vulnerable in our society the most. 

Yet there is no need to feel exhausted or stuck in a jam. Travelling more by cycling and walking is easier than you think and could help you save money, improve your wellbeing, and help protect the health of everyone in Richmond upon Thames at the same time.

Walk short journeys

Walking short journeys is a fantastic way to get more active without having to set foot in (or pay for) a gym. Being active is great for your physical health and fitness, and it can also improve your mental wellbeing.

Walking can help you unwind, focus and give you time to listen to your favourite music or podcast, have a good chat and enjoy a more interesting journey. Did you know we have a series of free health walks in the borough? We also have the Walk this Way programme to promote family activities in our parks.

On your bike

Cycling is a fun and affordable way to be more active and travel medium distances quickly, sometimes faster than driving! On a bike, you can use bus lanes and cycle lanes to zoom past traffic and take more direct routes than in a car.

Richmond’s cycling infrastructure is getting better all the time and employers are increasingly offering training, pool bikes, storage, or cycle to work schemes to support staff on two wheels—so getting on your bike is easier than ever before and more people are doing it every year.

See our Cycling pages for more information on bike hire, bike share, keeping your bike safe, cycling courses and road safety.

Fly less

In England, almost half of us don’t fly at all, yet 10% took more than half of all international flights in 2019.

Most of us love to travel, but it’s worth knowing that flying is very polluting. In fact, flying one fewer journey is one of the best single actions we can take to reduce our personal carbon footprint.

Next time you are planning a trip, consider a staycation or travelling by train, ferry or road where possible. And if you do fly, choosing to voluntarily offset your emissions is a relatively affordable way to reduce your impact.

Change delivery habits

We are all shopping more online than we used to. Whilst convenient, it also means a lot more delivery vehicles on our roads that cause traffic, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Millions of missed deliveries every year means lots of unnecessary, polluting journeys. Think about having things delivered to a convenient central location like a shop or locker or choosing to bundle items together.

Try to avoid having to return things if possible. Your returns mean more vehicle journeys and items can also be hard to resell and may even end up in landfill! Check your size or see if you could support your local high street instead and try things on.

Be a careful driver

Even if you’re not quite ready to leave the car at home, save money and carbon by being a careful driver. Try car sharing to halve your emissions (and fuel bill).

If you are thinking of buying or leasing a new vehicle, why not look into an electric model that is cheaper and cleaner to run?

Don’t be idle

Did you know that idling your car produces up to 150 balloons of exhaust emissions per minute, containing harmful chemicals like cyanide, Nox and PM2.5 every minute? We are committed to making this the cleanest, greenest borough in London. Therefore, we will now fine people who refuse to turn off their idling engines when asked. Don’t get caught out.

Sign our idling pledge

Updated: 24 March 2021

Stay up to date! Make sure you subscribe to our climate change email updates.