UK charity launches annual challenge to encourage public to go car-free

Posted: 8 June 2022 | | No comments yet

The Going Car Free 2022 challenge aims to help participants to reduce car use by encouraging them to re-evaluate their relationship with private cars and use more sustainable transportation modes.

Go Car-Free

Credit: Possible

UK climate charity Possible has announced that it is launching a new challenge, Going Car Free 2022, in July and is now gathering sign ups. This new annual challenge will encourage participants to cut their car use by taking more low-carbon transport or giving up their car for an entire month.

Similar to environmentally-themed, month-long challenges like Veganuary and No Mow May, Going Car Free will be looking to make a positive climate impact while giving participants the freedom to design their experience, so no matter their circumstances or access needs, they can still take part.

Challenges, including replacing their weekly grocery shop journey, commute or school run with a low-carbon transport alternative, going car-free for an entire week or month, or simply getting a friend or neighbour to take part, will help participants tailor their experience while still providing them with a valuable challenge that can help them re-evaluate their relationship with private cars.

Possible ran a pilot scheme in early 2022 in order to identify key barriers to going car-free. In the midst of the cost of living crisis, the 10 participants saved £8.78 a week on average between them – potential savings of just over £450 a year – and started shopping locally which allowed them to explore their local areas more. After the trial, all participants reported using their cars less or using sustainable modes for some journeys, with some even selling their cars.

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Between them, they also saved 372kg of CO2 with Possible estimating that if 10,000 people took part in Going Car Free 2022 for the full month, then there would be carbon savings of 549 tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to the amount of carbon absorbed by over 26,000 trees in one year.

With transport emissions making up 27 per cent of all UK greenhouse gas emissions – and cars accounting for over half of this total – car use needs to be reduced in order to keep people in line with UK targets. Past studies have found that one of the most impactful actions an individual can take to reduce their climate impact is living car-free. Thus, this challenge aims to help people cut their car use, re-evaluate how large a component their cars are in their lives and set them on a journey to going car-free.

Sandra Green, Car Free Birmingham Campaigner at Possible, said: “It’s brilliant to finally unveil this challenge to the public. After running our trial earlier in the year, it was clear that just sampling the car-free lifestyle gave people an appetite to take it further. Going Car Free has the potential to have a huge impact on people’s behaviour and emissions. I can’t wait for more people to try out car-free living and discover the joys of active travel, explore local shops and attractions and slash their climate impact.”

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