Walk the talk to help tackle climate change

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Graham McQueen, Manager of the Paths for All Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme shares why Low Emission Zones are vital to encouraging changes to our travel behaviours.

“We are in the middle of a climate crisis. If we don’t act now and change the way we live, it will be too late and future generations will suffer because of our inability to act on the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows the way we live is killing our planet. Among other things, we need to change the way we travel.

Paths for All manages the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme on behalf of Transport Scotland, and we are very successful in encouraging people and organisations to make changes in their day to day lives which lead to less car travel and more sustainable or active travel.

Our Open Fund currently has grants available of between £5000 and 50,000 for projects that encourage this positive behaviour change.

However, encouragement and support only go so far.

Estimates suggest that cities are responsible for 75% of global CO2 emissions with transport being one of the biggest two contributors.

The climate emergency makes it clear that we need to go further than just encouraging and supporting change, and we need legislation and regulation that enforces the changes we want within the biggest polluting areas. LEZs in cities are an important step in the right direction as we work to net zero.

I think LEZs make people think about how they travel around our cities and with LEZs being recently introduced in Scotland, people need to consider how they travel rather than just automatically jumping in the car. We can reduce the number of cars on our roads which reduces the CO2 emissions. Further to this, fewer cars on our roads also improves our communities, our connectedness, our opportunities around public space and our health. So for me, LEZs are incredibly important.

Changing the way we travel really is one of the easiest and most effective ways in which most people can contribute positively to the solution around the climate emergency and LEZs make people consider wither changing their travel habits is possible.

Walking specifically is the easiest and most effective travel choice we have. Walk to the shops, walk to the school, walk to work. Wherever you are going, consider walking a possibility and if so leave the car and hit the street.

This simple change will improve your health, it will improve your state of mind and it will contribute to improving your surroundings both locally and on a global scale.

At Paths for All, we want to get as many people out of their cars as possible by encouraging and promoting Scotland as a walking nation. Walking is for everyone, everywhere, everyday so join us by getting out there on the streets and saving the planet by walking.”

*If you have an idea or are interested in discussing possibilities about our Open Fund with our team, please do get in touch with us at scsp@pathsforall.org.uk