Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England

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My car and the countryside

I passed my driving test a month before I turned 30…wow, what an achievement!

It does grieve me though that, as an environmentalist, I’m not helping the world in terms of land use, pollution and unavoidable road kills (including of flies, which are a source of food for birds!). However, there are snippets of comfort for my green conscience.

One is that I drive a small, fuel-efficient car, christened Mistibu. Plus, I hope to make sensible decisions about the way I drive. I won’t speed or brake harshly and hope not to make unnecessary journeys. And I still walk down the street to attend to my pony and his companions! 

Lizzie at the wheel

Lizzie at the wheel

A very important environmental mitigation factor is that, because I can go anywhere and everywhere, I get to visit my local nature reserves and countryside places:  Woodwalton Fen, Wicken Fen, Holme Fen, Gault Wood, Ramsey Abbey Gardens and Anglesey Abbey. It opens the world to me, as I can go further and to places that were inaccessible to me, such as Paxton Pits, Monks Wood and John Wood.

I am also revitalised back into my previous life of conservation science – I plan to use my car to go on courses offered by the Wildlife Trust. I could also apply more easily for a countryside-based job, such as a water quality technician or a wildlife ranger, because many conservation jobs require a driving licence.

Woodwalton Fen

Woodwalton Fen

I am thrilled with my new life and weekends these days. But having a car does not mean that I want the countryside to be built over with roads or for planning to be done with a car-based mindset. I believe that other modes of transport, especially environmentally-friendly ones, should be at the forefront of policy makers’ minds. Transport should also be made available to help those who cannot drive become more mobile. 

More transport options would become a positive sustainability spiral – more people could become mobile to be able to enjoy and value the countryside. For both drivers and passengers, driving on our country roads and through the countryside is also part of the fun. Yes, I am adding a car to the numbers on our roads. But let’s make the most of what we’ve got and try to manage our problems without using up our most valuable asset – our glorious green land.

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