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GREEN VIEW: A chance to learn how to ‘drive smarter’

Green View by Peter Gudde
Green View by Peter Gudde

A month on and my new regime is taking shape. Twice a week I travel into work by bus, two days I share the car with my wife and one day I try to work at home. Well, that’s the plan.

It’s quite a change for someone who, up until Christmas probably travelled by car to work four days out of five. I’m hoping that by making changes to my routine in winter makes it easier as we move through the year.

However, I am still reliant on the car so even with fuel prices coming down I need to work on my fuel economy. Maybe I need to get a lesson – or a life, I hear someone say – but let’s discuss this objectively.

Back at the office we have our own plans for cutting business mileage. We know how big the task is, we have set ourselves a target and are doing things to change behaviours. Now we want to offer something to everyone, whether they drive for work or ‘pleasure’.

The Energy Saving Trust’s smarter driving scheme shows you how some simple changes to the way that you drive can increase fuel economy and reduce accident risk. A friendly instructor guides you on a set route and shows what you can achieve with your newly trained eye.

A key thing I learned is anticipation. By leaving a bit more space ahead you don’t need to brake as often, planning for junctions so you move through them smoothly, and gear changing before you need to or skipping a gear especially if you are driving a diesel. The lessons have been shown to deliver savings of between 10 and 20% on fuel costs as well as reduced wear and tear.

And this tip will immediately save you money and reduce the impact on the environment. With modern engines, it is simply just not necessary to sit with the engine running. Turn off, when parked or stationery. It just wastes fuel and money.

So here’s the deal. We can offer you a free Smarter Driving lesson. You need to book with us as soon as you can and there are Ts and Cs attached. But whether you are recently qualified or a sceptical old hand, I am confident you will learn something to your advantage.

For more information

To book your free Smarter Driving lesson, approved by the Energy Saving Trust, email environment@westsuffolk.gov.uk quoting ‘Smarter Driving’ in the email title. Lessons will be 50 minutes long. You will need bring your own car, be available on the date offered, starting and finishing at West Suffolk House in Bury. Alternative venues may be provided depending on demand. This is a time limited offer and first come first served. Full terms and conditions will be made available on request.

Peter Gudde is environment manager for St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils