25 Nov Essex residents encouraged to swap car journeys for walking and cycling in 60 Day Challenge
Hundreds of Essex residents have taken part in a new campaign, which encourages local people to replace their daily drives with more regular walking and cycling.
The Stop.Swap.GO! campaign was developed by Essex County Council in a response to figures showing 10.7 billion vehicle kilometres were travelled in Essex in 2018*, with up to 43% of car trips in Essex districts being under three miles (the equivalent to a 15 minute cycle).
The campaign builds upon temporary measures installed in town and city centres across Essex which increase space for social distancing and encourages walking and cycling.
Participants of the programme are already experiencing the health and wellbeing benefits of adopting sustainable travel, with long-term benefits also expected to have a wider impact on the Essex community with reduced traffic congestion and air pollution.
As part of the campaign, residents have an opportunity to win fantastic prizes for 60 consecutive days of walking or cycling. These include Love2Shop and Amazon e-vouchers and even the chance to win a bike and cycling or walking accessories to the value of £1,000.
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Passenger Transport, said: “The Stop.Swap.GO! 60 Day Challenge is an excellent way to start thinking about how to include walking and cycling in your daily travel. Not only is it fantastic for your health and the wider environment, you could also win some great prizes.”
Grahame Gardiner, aged 64 from Chelmsford, suffers from a respiratory condition, and was one of the first participants to take part in the 60 Day Challenge when it first launched earlier this year. He started with short walks to the shops during his lunchtime and occasional cycles in the countryside.
He said, “Quite the contrast from shielding during the height of the COVID-19 peak, I joined the challenge to give me more structure to my daily fitness, help me get more active and shed some excess weight that I gained during the first lockdown.
“While I was nervous at first to get out of the house, it was easier than I thought to identify good walking and cycling routes that were spacious enough to maintain social distancing measures.
“Not only have I have I significantly cut down on my vehicle mileage since taking part, but I have lost half a stone and getting out in the fresh air has really had a positive effect on my wellbeing. I’d like to encourage as many Essex residents as possible to take up the challenge which can do wonders for your health!”
Anyone aged 13 and over can join in the challenge and they will need to record 60 consecutive daily trip diaries before March 2021 for a chance of winning top prizes. To be in for the February prize draw you will need to start the challenge by 1 December 2020.
You can sign up for the challenge at https://bit.ly/SSG60DayChallenge and find inspiration and tips on the Stop.Swap.GO! Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.