Vehicle tyres are probably the biggest source of plastic pollution in our rivers and seas, according to a new report commissioned by Friends of the Earth.
When you think about car pollution, you probably think mainly about exhaust emissions.
We’ve been pointing out the global-warming and health-harming effects of petrol and diesel vehicles for years.
But recent research shows there’s another serious, maybe more surprising environmental threat from road traffic. It comes from tyres.
Although we loosely call them ‘rubber’, vehicle tyres are actually made from a complex blend of a lot of mostly synthetic materials and chemicals, including different types of plastic.
As cars and trucks pound along our roads, they gradually shed tiny bits of tyre material. Think about how tyre tread slowly but inevitably wears down until tyres need replacing.
When it rains, those tyre particles – essentially microplastics – are washed off the road surface into drains and waterways. These could ultimately pollute the oceans.
Lloyd Alter – April 14, 2021
This is not quite true, Finland has been doing this for a while, having funded over 2,000 e-bikes. But the French scheme and Schneider’s comment are still very significant. We have noted before that electric cars are not a silver bullet because of the upfront carbon emissions, or embodied carbon, released during their manufacture, and we have also asked if governments are going to subsidize electric vehicles, why not e-bikes?
February 17, 2020
548 pedestrians were killed by drivers in the supposed safe haven of pavements or verges in the last 13 years, with the oldest and youngest in society disproportionately at risk, a new analysis of collision data can reveal.
Between 2005 and 2018, 8.6% of the 5,835 pedestrian deaths in England, Scotland and Wales occurred on pavements, the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy, a new academic think tank, has found. The majority (542) involved motor vehicles, with six pedestrian-cycle footway collisions.
The research uncovered examples of some of the most dangerous driving on Britain’s roads over the past 15 years, as well as momentary lapses by drivers, both with tragic consequences.
Damian Carrington 12/4/21
The analysis calls plastic pollution one of the most pressing environmental issues of the 21st century. It indicates that the billions of tonnes of plastic discarded into the oceans and land and being broken down into tiny pieces are being thrown back into the air by road traffic and winds over seas and farmland.
People are already known to breathe, drink and eat microplastics and the other research suggests levels of pollution will continue to rise rapidly. The scientists said this “raises questions on the impact of accumulating plastics in the atmosphere on human health. The inhalation of particles can be irritating to lung tissue and lead to serious diseases.
Carlton Reid 13/4/21
BBC News will be issuing a correction to an incorrect statement one of its primetime presenters made about “low traffic neighborhoods,” or LTNs. On BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, broadcast on March 31, presenter Nick Robinson said: “But more and more councils are doing these low traffic neighborhoods where you … cannot use your car.”
The installation of LTNs prevent the use of local roads as “rat-runs” but they do not prevent residents or visitors from access in motor vehicles.
The BBC correction follows a letter to the corporation from Lilian Greenwood, the MP for Nottingham South and an officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group of Cycling and Walking.
Greenwood told the BBC that “it is not the case that in Low Traffic Neighborhoods you cannot use your car …all residential properties remain accessible, albeit via a slightly longer route.”
Leo Murray 13/4/21
This week the French national assembly voted to ban domestic flights on routes that could be travelled via train in under two and a half hours. The new rule, which is the result of a French citizens’ climate convention established by Emmanuel Macron in response to the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement, will capture 12% of French domestic flights. Though it’s more moderate than the convention’s initial proposal, which sought to ban all domestic flights on routes with rail alternatives of less than four hours, this is the first time any major economy has prohibited domestic air travel for environmental reasons. It’s also far more drastic than anything the UK has done to curb flight emissions.
Some consider them a curse, but it’s very hard to argue against the very real benefits smartphones bring to our lives. Whether it’s accessing social media, or taking a photo, most of us are using our phones all the time, and that simply means it’s quite easy to totally drain your phone’s battery during a normal day’s usage.
When we throw battery-sapping uses, like using GPS, or the camera, into the mix, then your phone’s battery life off a single charge could be reduced to just a few hours. Add to that the fact that a good bike ride can be far longer than just a few hours, and the scale of the problem becomes instantly obvious. And that’s before we even think about multi-day rides!
So, what practical steps can you take to guard against having a flat phone battery? Well, you really only have two options: use a power bank, or use a dynamo.
We’ll give it a minute for the laughter to die down, after that one person at the back suggested solar charging as an option anywhere outside of the Namib desert.
Less crowded services, cheaper tickets and better routes came top of the public’s wish list to encourage increased use of public transport post-pandemic
Mark Moran 14 April 2021
Cars will continue to be the preferred mode of transport for around half of journeys post-COVID, a survey of travel plans by the Campaign for Better Transport.
The sustainable transport charity is worried that a resurgence in car dependency will put both climate targets and a fair economic recovery at risk.
The UN Task Force has urged countries of the Pan-European region to use the Covid-19 recovery as a turning point for greener, healthier modes of transport such as walking and cycling.
Bringing together over 50 experts from member States, international institutions, academia, public transport operators and industry experts, the Task Force set up in April 2020 by UNECE under the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP) has developed a set of key recommendations that member States can implement to support these efforts.
The recommendations are part of a policy document that discuss the immediate effects of the covid-19 pandemic and highlight examples of how countries have dealt with the crisis by introducing green and healthy mobility solutions.
CoMoUK’s fifth annual bike share report has found bike share to be a significant catalyst for people’s renewed interest in cycling, with 55% of users starting cycling again after using schemes.
Up from 44% in last year’s study, the rising tide comes in tandem with greater availability of such schemes. 29% of those who responded told CoMo that they had not cycled in five years and sometimes more.
Year-on-year, 47% more cycling journeys were tallied between March of 2020 and 2021 over the prior count.
Usage of bike share schemes was for 29% of participants an alternative to pubic transport usage during the pandemic and so in theory is generating new cyclists who had not previously cycled for transport. 33% of users went on to say bike share had impacted on their car reliance, which a separate study published this week shows is rising in tandem.