Help the planet and Essex by travelling sustainably. Switching from fossil-fuelled vehicles to sustainable travel (cycling, walking, wheeling or taking public transport), especially for shorter journeys, will cut congestion, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and other air pollutants that damage our health as well as our ecosystems.
Transport is responsible for 27% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and is the largest single contributor to the climate crisis. It’s essential that travel is decarbonised if we're to meet the UK’s climate commitments.
Small steps can make a BIG difference – choosing to walk or wheel just one mile to the shop and back once a week rather than drive will see fuel savings of £11 and 29kg in CO2 annually [Energy Savings Trust]
It all adds up…
- Choosing to commute by walking or cycling once a week could save around 29kg of CO2 a year – every mile you travel without your petrol or diesel car saves enough CO2 to fill 10 balloons.
- Reducing your car use by a quarter could save up to 510kg of CO2 a year.
- By walking, cycling or wheeling you are reducing congestion and pollution, making Essex more enjoyable, quieter and healthier.
There may be instances when sustainable travel isn’t a suitable option, for example you may be travelling a long distance or have a large load. For these journeys, why not consider using a combination of sustainable travel and shared transport?
The Essex Climate Action Commission
The Essex Climate Action Commission was set up to advise us about tackling climate change. It was launched in May 2020 for an initial term of two years and has since been extended for a further three years. The commission will run until 2025.
The Commission’s recommendations include focussing on increasing active and sustainable travel provision in Essex; reducing reliance on the car and creating new cycling, walking and bus routes from/to key destinations for residents and visitors, while supporting the shift to alternative fuels.
Read the Net Zero - Making Essex Carbon Neutral report.
You may also want to take a look at the Essex is Green Facebook page.
Interested in sustainable travel in Essex?
Check out some of the sustainable transport projects we run for Essex residents below.
FREE adult cycling training for adults.
Whether you’ve never learned to cycle or need a bit of a confidence boost, we offer FREE adult cycling courses. These include our beginners Learn to Ride training (45 minute sessions, maximum of four), Confidence-building session (two hours in length, one session only) or Advanced session (a 1-to-1, two hours in length, one session only). All training is delivered by our qualified instructors. Find out more by emailing the cycling team.
FREE family cycling training.
We have developed family training to help all family members get on their bikes. Whether you’ve never cycled or it’s been a few years since you got on your bike, our training is personalised to your family’s needs and is completely free. Find out more by emailing the cycling team.
Bikeability training for schools.
From basic cycling skills to advanced journeys, we work with The Bikeability Trust offering cycle training for school children across Essex. Find out more information by emailing the cycling team.
Join your local cycling group for support, help and fun
Across Essex there are plenty of local cycling groups which have something for everybody, no matter the ability level - just go online to find your nearest one.
- The Love to Ride Essex community runs challenges throughout the year offering prizes for cycling and allowing riders to compete on a variety of leaderboards.
- Colchester Bike Kitchen and Wivenhoe Bike Kitchen are DIY community bike workshops run by volunteers. In return for a small donation you can use their tools either on your own or under the supervision of their friendly mechanics.
- Colchester Cycling Campaign offers a great site about utility cycling in and around Colchester, Essex, UK. They also offer great information on buying a bike, bike hire in the town, rides, clubs, bike basics and learning to ride!
- The Big Bike Revival has been running for four years to inspire the 42% of people who own bikes, but who don’t cycle, to start riding. With events across England and Scotland, people attending benefit from free cycle checks, servicing, cycle maintenance workshops, cycle training and accompanied rides.
- Big Pedal is the UK's largest inter-school cycling and scooting challenge. It inspires pupils, staff and parents to choose two wheels for their journey to school. Each year Essex schools compete nationally for prizes and awards. See if your school participates or how you could enter.
- The Cake Escape encourages Essex residents and visitors alike to grab their bikes and cycle through some of the most beautiful places in Essex. The cake escape combines a little exercise with exploration of the countryside and the best of local café culture.
The National Cycle Network is a network of cycle routes in the United Kingdom and is managed by the charity Sustrans. Currently spanning 13,400 miles it was officially created in 1995 and now passes within one mile of half the population, over 338 million trips were made using it in 2006. National Routes 1, 11, 13, 16 & 51 all pass through Essex.
Travelling around on two feet
Reducing your car use by a quarter could save up to £202 in fuel costs and 510kg of CO2 a year according to the Energy Savings Trust.
Sounds obvious but our two feet are the most sustainable form of transport! By walking, particularly for shorter journeys and as part of longer ones – such as walking to the station for example rather than driving - we can all make a difference. .
So whether it’s a walk to the shops, walking to work or walking for pleasure, we would love you to consider walking to help make Essex safer, greener and healthier.
We’ve partnered with the FREE Go Jauntly walking app so for inspiration on lots of Essex walks, both urban and rural.
Travelling around on public transport in Essex
Taking the bus or train as part of a longer journey rather than driving could make Essex a much greener county. To make journey-planning as easy and straightforward as possible, why not download the free Travel Essex app which will help you plan your journeys across the county. Providing real-time travel information, you will be given detailed expected journey and departure times for walking and cycling routes as well as bus services, including First, Arriva, Hedingham, and Stephensons, and Greater Anglia and C2C rail, National Rail and London Underground trains.
To download the TravelEssex app, search for it on the Play or Apple app store.
Park and Ride
Beat the traffic by using one of our Park and Ride services in Chelmsford or Colchester. All the routes offer 12 tickets for the price of 11 discounts. More info on pricing, routes and timetables can be found on the Park and Ride web page.
Older or disabled persons’ bus pass
If you or somebody you know lives in England and are of retirement age or an eligible disabled person, you are entitled to an English National Concessionary Bus Pass. Essex residents who are applying for an older persons or disabled persons bus pass can apply online or ring 0345 200 0388 for an application form or for assistance completing one.
Useful information about all train travel can be found on either the Greater Anglia website or the C2C website.
We’re working with commercial partner Tier Mobility who are currently delivering the Essex e-scooter trial in Basildon, Chelmsford and Colchester. With over 1.5 million rides undertaken to date since the trial launched two years ago, e-scootering offers a cheap AND sustainable way to get around. More information about the trial is available on our e-scooter web page.