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06/05/14 10:30

Scots urged to ‘leave the car when it’s not far’

Campaign to increase active travel for short journeys.

Scots are being encouraged to leave the car for journeys under two miles and enjoy the stress-relieving and health benefits of active travel.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse has launched the second phase of the national Active Travel campaign, confirming a further £250,000 for local authorities to promote the initiative. By using active methods of transport, such as walking, instead of the car for short journeys, Scots can help improve their health and well-being, save money, reduce carbon emissions and help make Scotland a cleaner and greener place to live.

In Scotland:

  • one in three car journeys are under two miles
  • nearly a quarter of all our trips are one mile or less
  • road transport accounts for 70 per cent of all transport emissions
  • short journeys cause more pollution - emissions are almost double for these journeys as vehicles use more fuel when the engine is cold

The latest campaign will prompt commuters travelling short journeys to walk or cycle to and from work where practical. Walking to and from work can provide valuable thinking time and relieve stresses of the day. To help Scots track their progress, the Greener Together ‘Journeys’ app can be downloaded to monitor distance travelled, calories burned, CO2 emissions saved and improvements in mood.

Families around Scotland are also being encouraged to leave the car at home for traveling to and from school. This follows the findings of a number of international studies[i] which suggest children who walk or cycle to school have improved concentration, cognitive function and mood.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse said:

“Many of us believe we’re too busy to leave the car at home when travelling short distances. But when you’re having a busy or stressful day, often nothing is more relaxing than a ten minute walk to clear your head and cycling can greatly enhance physical fitness. By taking a short walk or cycling to and from work, the local shop or school, Scots are making a conscious, positive difference to their health, their mood and their environment.

“Short car journeys create more pollution per mile and it’s in everyone’s interest for us all to consider whether these are really necessary. We are rightly committed to not only reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint, but creating a more sustainable environment, improving air quality and enhancing the health and wellbeing of our people. While I appreciate that not everybody can walk or cycle to work, it is essential that we use sustainable alternatives to driving where possible. That is why I’m announcing an additional £250,000 for local authorities to build on the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme to promote active travel in their areas. Making Scotland a cleaner, greener place is everyone’s responsibility and small changes to your day can make a big difference over time.”

The Scottish Government works with a range of stakeholders including Sustrans Scotland and Living Streets Scotland. This month is Living Streets’ ‘National Walking Month’, which includes businesses promoting ‘Walk to Work Week’ (12 – 16 May) and schools engaging parents and pupils during ‘Walk to School Week’ (19 – 23 May).

Keith Irving, Head of Living Streets Scotland, said:

"This May, we want to get people across Scotland out of their car seat and onto their two feet. Walking is free, green and easy, helping you feel better, in body and mind.”

"The Fit in 14 campaign is encouraging people to make physical activity a part of their everyday lives in 2014. Walk to Work Week and Walk to School Week gives everyone the chance to think differently about everyday journeys. As the weather improves, summer holidays beckon and excitement builds over the Commonwealth Games, it’s the perfect time to improve your health and get active. We think you’ll be amazed at what a difference a short blast of fresh air can do for you as part of your daily life."

Notes to editors

For more information about the campaign or to view the TV advert, please visit:

The app can be downloaded from the App Store by searching ‘greener journeys’.

The eight week marketing campaign will include TV, radio, outdoor advertising, digital and a national information roadshow visiting towns and cities across Scotland. ‘Not far? Leave the car’ comes as part of a £58m Scottish Government investment into active travel between 2013 and 2015.

The Scottish Government is also promoting its year-long ‘Fit in 14’ campaign, encouraging employers and employees across the country to become more active by taking part in a variety of workplace activities. Workers are being urged to start a ‘Wednesday walking club’, do stretches and chair-aerobics at their desks and take part in a Friday Fitness Hour as part of a bid to make Scotland’s workforce fitter and healthier, with a view to improving wellbeing, workplace productivity, reducing levels of sickness and injuries, and extending life expectancy.

An additional £250,000 funding is being allocated for implementing the learning from the pilot partnership programme ‘Smarter Choices, Smarter Places’, which will be allocated to local authorities to introduce local mapping, branding and signage to increase local active travel journeys.

The Scottish Government has committed to ambitious climate change targets of a 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050. This includes investing over £58 million in cycling and walking projects over this Spending Review period.


For more information please contact Shaun Bell or Jen Ward at Stripe Communications on 0131 5261 8628 or