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What Lower Carbon Travel Options are there?

Why are lower carbon travel alternatives good for the environment?

As explained by the National Geographic, extracting petroleum products from the earth is an energy-intensive process that can damage local ecosystems, shipping fuels consume a lot of energy and creates an occasional environmental disaster such as an oil spill.

The smog, carbon monoxide, and other toxins emitted by vehicles cause health problems, including allergies, skin irritation, heart disease, respiratory problems such as asthma, and in some cases of prolonged exposure, lung cancer. According to an article published in the Guardian in November 2023, air pollution from fossil fuels (including petrol/diesel car emissions) is killing 5 million people worldwide each year.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the combination of exhaust fumes and other particulates released into the atmosphere by cars are a major factor of global warming. According to the official transport and environment statistics 2022, transport is the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gas emissions, producing 24% of the UK’s total emissions in 2020.

So, the science is there, what can we do about it?

Little acts by each one of us can add up to big changes for this worrying prognosis. Most of us have no choice but to travel to work each day, but there are alternatives to using your car that could go someway to cutting down the toxic air pollution around Derriford Hospital and the wider city.


Plymouth City Bus fares are capped at £2 for a single- £4 a day is cheaper than parking onsite without a permit! The Park & Ride by the George is free to use for NHS staff: simply park, show your ID badge to the driver and hope on for a free ride to the hospital. Alternatively, start your day off with some exercise and walk the 20 mins from the car park to the hospital- if you did this twice a day for 5 days you would more than achieve the recommended 150 mins of exercise per week.


There are now a range of beryl bikes across the city, including a docking station by the Geroge P&R and outside the main entrance of UHP. Use your phone to unlock the bikes and pay for an electrically powered ride to work. The DCHW also have some e-bikes which can be loaned so you can try before you buy, as well as heated drying rooms, showers and changing rooms which are free to use for cyclists. If you work on a ward and the DCHW is a little out of the way for you, why not ask your manager where the nearest showers/changing rooms are in the main building? Store your bike in an undercover and CCTV monitored section of the multistorey car park, or in one of the numerous bike sheds around the site; remember to put lights on in the dark and wear a helmet!

If you would like to share your views on the cycling infrastructure at UHP, join UHP’s Bicycle User Group (BUG) and chat with likeminded lycra fans. Email the Sustainability team plh-tr.sustainability@nhs.net and we’ll get you connected.

Salary sacrifice- low carbon vehicles

For some of us, driving to work is our only option. Opting for a low carbon vehicle through UHP’s salary sacrifice scheme is a good solution for the eco-conscious driver.

 A salary sacrifice car scheme means that employees agree to give up part of their gross salary in exchange for a non-cash benefit, in this case a brand new car.

Lower carbon transport alternatives sometimes involve more organising and planning, but the benefits to your health, the air quality, traffic congestion and your wallet far outweigh the slight hassle. Ready to do your bit? Ditch your ride now and pledge a day that you will leave your car at home. Sign up on PCC’s website and receive a sticker for your car window in the post.

Any questions, or a couple of suggestions? Email us at plh-tr.sustainability@nhs.net

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