Driving to Airbourne

In Eastbourne Borough Council’s commitment to a carbon neutral 2030 one of the most contentious sources is Airbourne. An issue where some councillors have resigned. However their recently published report, on the event’s 2022 carbon footprint, showed that 96% was down to ‘audience’ travel. Whereas very little was linked to the aircraft

During the event the council undertook a survey of 710 people. They found 74% came by private car. Using Kolin Schunks carbon tool these journeys accounted for 95% of all the ‘travel’ CO2e. This being 91% of the CO2e for everything at Airbourne.

To be fair 2022 was not typical and due to industrial action had less rail travel but the clear message is, even in a ‘normal’ year, most carbon will be down to private car trips.

People might think that with more electric vehicles the carbon footprint will become very much less. However EVs with low mileage have big manufacture and disposal carbon footprints. With a trend for being ever larger and 15% heavier, than the fossil fuel equivalent, they are not the solution for everything and they still take up the same road space

Then with the raw data it was possible to have a ‘rough and ready’ estimate for traffic. Where assuming up to 10km was driven in Eastbourne and within 40km in East Sussex. This showed only 13%, of the total distance driven, is within Eastbourne and a further 21% elsewhere in East Sussex. So most of the event’s CO2e is not directly linked to the Eastbourne area.

Below are some of the measures that would reduce car trips. Experts suggest it is not enough to only use ‘pull’ measures like cycle and bus lanes. There has to be ‘push’ measures, which are equally important for the rest of the year.

Graphic from TUMI


So in conclusion, if Eastbourne wants to reduce the carbon footprint for Airbourne, they need to discourage car trips. They would have to implement measures such as car bans, higher parking charges and tighter parking management. The question is does anyone have the commitment to do this?

Paul Humphreys – Transport Group