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Great Britain

Footprints at a British beauty spot highlight the environmental impact of electric cars compared to petrol and diesel

VISITORS to picturesque Whitby Bay Beach were shocked when they came across two giant footprints  at the popular beauty spot.

The footprints, one measuring 50 metres and the other 3.5 metres long, had been etched by a sand artist at the North Yorkshire seafront.

But behind the fun imagery was a serious message - highlighting the environmental impact of electric vehicles compared to petrol and diesel.

The artwork, commissioned by EDF energy, highlights how the carbon footprint of petrol and diesel cars on UK roads is FOURTEEN times what it would be if all those vehicles were to switch to electric by 2030.
It is based on analysis by EDF, which found that the 32.4 million petrol and diesel cars on UK roads will emit around 69.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, when driven an average of 7,600 miles.

That’s more than the volume of CO2 emitted from ALL passenger flights (domestic and international) that departed from the UK, France and Spain in 2018.

By comparison, the same amount of electric cars would add less than 5 million tonnes of CO2 to the environment by 2030 - a fall of 92 per cent, reducing Britain’s overall carbon footprint by more than 10 per cent.

Philippe Commaret, deputy managing director for customers at EDF Energy, said: “We’ve created this eye-catching instillation on Whitby Bay to help motorists understand the impact their vehicle has on their carbon footprint.

“Our research clearly shows there is a willingness to reduce our collective carbon footprint, but a lack of understanding as to how to do so.

"We hope that by highlighting the dramatic environmental benefits that could be achieved if we were all to switch to an electric vehicle over the next ten years, we’ll inspire more motorists to consider making the switch.”

To coincide with the giant artwork, consumer research by EDF revealed two thirds of Brits are unaware of how their vehicle contributes to their carbon footprint.

The study, conducted by OnePoll, revealed the average motorist made at least four trips of under 10 minutes in their car each week, with 45 per cent confessing they had a tendency to drive distances they could easily walk.

A further 64 per cent are unaware of what their carbon footprint actually is with more people knowing when their MOT is due (55 per cent) and the mileage of their car (43 per cent).

However, there is a desire to know more about their environmental impact with more than half – 53 per cent – of those wanting to know what their carbon footprint is.

And two thirds wished there was more information on how to reduce their footprint.

EDF Energy also found 44 per cent of Brits would consider installing solar panels to cut their emissions, while over a quarter would quit flying to help the environment.

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