Emissions from transport make up the biggest part of Somerset’s carbon footprint at 28%. To decarbonise Somerset, we need to look seriously at how we travel in ways such as switching to electric vehicles, travelling by other means such as public transport, cycling and walking more and just reducing the amount that we travel overall.
In reality, it will take a combination of all these changes to help reduce our transport emissions.
Somerset developed a joint Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy which was adopted in December 2020. To find out more visit our strategies page.
Electric vehicles will play a key role in reducing emissions where we still need to travel by road. Rather than running off fossil fuel-based petrol or diesel fuels, electric vehicles charge their batteries straight from the electricity grid. Electric vehicle technology has improved drastically in recent years. Vehicles can now travel further and offer the same reliability and comfort compared to a petrol or diesel engine.
The previous district councils have installed a number of electric vehicle charging points across council-owned car parks all over Somerset. See which car parks in your area have charging points.
Thinking of purchasing an electric vehicle? Check out this simple guide from the Energy Saving Trust – All you need to know about electric vehicles – Energy Saving Trust.
Active travel simply refers to travelling by non-motorised ways of travelling such as walking, cycling, using a mobility aid, wheelchair and so on. There is plenty of evidence showing that active travel is beneficial both physically and mentally.
In Somerset, we have ambitious aspirations for active travel improvements. Our vision is to see healthy and active communities, with a good-quality cycling and walking experience for all users. We want Somerset to be a county where everyone feels welcome and comfortable, whichever mode of transport they use. We understand the positive links between active travel, our physical and mental health, the environment, air quality and climate change.
The Somerset Sports and Active Partnership (SASP) website has lots of information on staying active and healthy.
There’s lots of information available on different active travel routes as well as some of the amazing places to walk in Somerset:
- Mendip Hills AONB
- Quantock Hills AONB
- Exmoor National Park
- Blackdown Hills AONB
- Cranbourne Chase AONB
- The Strawberry Line and Frome Missing Links
- Avalon Marshes – cycling
- Somerset walking and cycling maps
Somerset Council is also working in partnership with Frome Town Council on a School Streets project. Find out more information on the Frome Town Council website.
Find out more information on the nearest 20’s Plenty campaign near you.
Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs)
Somerset has been developing a series of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs). These are focused 10-year plans for developing a cycling and walking network within a local area. They are key documents to support active travel funding opportunities. So far, three LCWIPs have been developed – Bridgwater, Taunton & Yeovil. We have used data to understand journey patterns and determine where people are travelling from and to. A core network can then be identified to connect these places in an easy-to-use way for all those who choose to travel, from unconfident cyclists, those with less mobility, or people who just want to get out of their cars.
First Bus operates the bus network across Somerset. For general information on public and community transport visit our transport pages.
Great Western Railway operates all train stations across Somerset. To see travel times, have a look at the GWR website.
If you’re looking to plan your route, visit our think travel website which includes all public transport in Somerset.
As part of trials with the Department for Transport, we currently have three areas authorised in Somerset for e-scooters. E-scooters are permitted to travel on roads, cycle lanes and cycle tracks in trial areas only. In order to rent a scooter you must be over the age of 16 and have a valid provisional or full driving licence.
These schemes provide a sustainable and convenient way to travel for our communities and visitors. We must stress whilst the trials are still underway, privately owned e-scooters are still illegal on public roads and all e-scooters must not be ridden on the pavement.
The former South Somerset District Council worked in partnership with Zwings providing a fleet of rental e-scooters in Yeovil. The trial started in October 2020 and will run until May 2024. To use the e-scooters, download the app on the Zwings website. For any questions you might have, Zwings has a dedicated webpage for frequently asked questions.
The former Somerset West and Taunton Council worked with Zipp Mobility for schemes in Taunton and Minehead. Taunton went live in October 2020 and Minehead in June 2021, both running until May 2024. To download the app click on the relevant link:
The Government published a findings report and evaluation of the e-scooter trails in December 2022. The report looks at how and why rental e-scooters are used, and by whom, as well as safety, mode shift, environmental and wider social impacts. It represents one of the largest evaluations of e-scooters internationally in terms of the breadth of data collected.
The report was commissioned by the Department for Transport and undertaken by Arup and NatCen Social Research. It includes data collected between July 2020 and the end of December 2021.
The Department for Transport welcomes the conclusion that rental e-scooters can serve as a valuable mode of transport, with 14.5 million rental e-scooter trips completed by December 2021. Safety and the protection of riders, pedestrians and other road users is a key priority for the Government. We will continue to work with local authorities and operators to ensure the trials – which have been extended until May 2024 – are as safe as possible and encourage responsible use.
The government has published a full response to this evaluation report, outlining key learnings: