'We need to make dramatic changes': Leeds drivers start car-free trial for three weeks as part of climate campaign

Three drivers in Leeds have started a three week campaign during which time they are not allowed to use their cars.

By Alex Grant
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 4:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 2:02 pm

It comes as part of a climate led car-free trial.

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The campaign aims to examine how participants reducing their car use could improve their lives and reduce their impact on the climate.

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The campaign aims to examine how participants reducing their car use could improve their lives and reduce their impact on the climate. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas / Getty Images.

All while providing valuable feedback on the barriers to car-free living.

Speaking to the YEP Hirra Khan Adeogun, Head of Car Free Cities project explained the importance of the study.

"Most people who own a car are unlikely to give up their car unless there is a reason to do so because we are creatures of habit and we follow the status quo." she said.

"This is an opportunity for people to rethink what they've been doing and consider the options. We've seen the climate crisis, we know we need to make dramatic changes to our lifestyle but people need support to do that."

12 drivers across the UK will be going car free from Monday, January 10 until Monday, February 7.

Participants will cover Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and London.

This tester period will inform a future campaign launching in the spring that will encourage the wider public to transform their lives by going car free and put forward practical, green solutions to improve our cities’ transport systems.

For the first week they’ll be closely monitoring their regular car use and then transition to attempting a car-free lifestyle for the remaining three. This is so they can make direct comparisons and see how living without a car could transform their lives.

In Leeds drivers will be supported by climate charity Possible, Enterprise, and Leeds Bike Mill.

The drivers will be trying out some of the many alternatives to private cars - such as walking, bike hire, e-scooter-hire, public transport, car clubs and taxis. They are also being asked to chronicle their experiences, outlining each journey they made, how they made it and if they would have made it via their cars when they were not car free.

"We need to drastically reduce car use but then secondly we need to invest heavily in public transport particularly buses which have been so neglected." Hirra explained.

"A green recovery and a just recovery needs to plough money into our bus services, ensuring they are regular and reliable and accessible."

Transport is the most significant contributor to the UK’s carbon emissions at 27 per cent and as the UK progresses on its journey to reduce those emissions, collective action such as reducing car use will have a marked impact.

Sandra Green, campaigner at climate charity Possible, said:

“I’ve been car free for 10 years now and honestly, it’s made such a positive impact on my life. Through this project I hope we can show people the wonders of going car free. But at the same time we hope to gather valuable feedback from a group of individuals, with a range of lived experiences.

"From there, we can go on to make practical, green propositions to decision-makers in our cities that could make it more convenient and rewarding to live car free. Changing attitudes towards transport is a gradual process and I can’t wait to hear all of the observations made by our drivers.”

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