You can’t have ‘green motorways (full of cars), but we can make motorways a bit better for people, pets, wildlife and the planet. All 4000 miles of English motorways and major A-roads are operated by Highways England who encourage people to stop on the left hand side in case of breakdown (or if you feel sleepy – a major cause of accidents). If not pregnant/nursing, take a high-caffeine drink at a service station and ideally take a nap for 20 minutes before driving again, taking regular breaks every 2 hours.
Spaghetti Junction links 7 roads in Birmingham (some say it looks like an unsuccessful attempt at a Staffordshire knot). This and London’s M25 both now carry twice the amount of traffic they were designed for. One common ‘random act of kindness’ is to pay a couple of quid on the toll, for the person behind you – a nice start to someone else’s day!
ways to make our motorways greener
- Despite only being 2% of our roads, motorways carry a third of all traffic. This is mostly due to lorries trundling food from central distribution houses to big supermarkets, so by shopping at local indie shops when possible, we can reduce up to 25% of motorway traffic.
- If you own a car, see tips to be a greener driver. This post includes tips for greener cars, and using less oil (and antifreeze and how to avoid it poisoning pets and wildlife). Another idea is to join a car-sharing club which not saves you money, but frees up parking spaces (as the cars are in constant use, rather than just cluttering up towns when not in use).
- If you get stuck in a traffic jam, Driving with Dogs has details of walks near motorway exits (plus details of walks and vets in France). Read this book to keep your dog safe and never leave dogs in (even warm) cars.
- Be a wildlife-friendly driver (also don’t throw rubbish out the window – one farmer wants registration numbers on fast food receipts so culprits get fines in the post). If you find injured wildlife, call the RSPCA (the police will come out for large animals like deer, due to being a hazard). Planners can install wildlife bridges/tunnels, as happens in The Netherlands and North America.
- Report issues on highways for litter, broken signs and potholes). Grass should not be mowed before removal, as this sends shards of glass or plastic everywhere. If you smoke, stop somewhere safe and use a personal ashtray (to empty at home). If you do smoke and drive, at least use a charcoal air freshener (to help absorb/remove odours).
- Take your own food and drink, rather than pay huge prices for bad food at most service stations. However, Westmorland (with three locations in Cumbria, Gloucestershire and Scotland) offers indie-owned farm shops, electric charging stations, dog areas (for a stretch of the paws) and a dedicated area for truck drivers on the M6 (local produce, homemade meals and hot showers).