Driving a Greener Future
Young Driver is working to achieve net zero, where our activities don’t add any carbon to the environment.
It’s not easy, especially when you are in the business of delivering driving lessons: whichever way you look at it, driving produces carbon emissions.
We’re working with environmental consultants Contented who have independently measured our carbon footprint and are helping us to reduce carbon emissions where we can and to offset any remaining emissions such that we achieve net zero.
We’re using the latest eco-friendly cars
The new generation Corsas we use for our Young Driver lessons boast Vauxhall’s most energy-efficient ecoTEC engine yet. Our next step will be to move towards dual-control electric vehicles although at the moment our research shows that most young people will drive a used car when they pass their test and that used electric cars are out of reach for many. The demand at the moment is therefore predominantly for petrol cars with manual gears although as this starts to shift to electric, you can be assured that Young Driver will make the transition in line with our customer demand.
We’re making our driving event days more environmentally-friendly
We have stopped the sale of single-use plastics at our Young Driver event locations around the UK. We now only use fully-recyclable bottles and cups and we have introduced recycling bins on site too.
We are also teaching the drivers of the future to be more environmentally aware behind the wheel. Youngsters taking lessons with us will be taught best practice for greener driving, such as a light touch on the throttle and brakes, anticipation to avoid wasting energy and switching the engine off wherever possible.
We’ve created a greener office too
Young Driver only prints on carbon neutral paper including our Drive Diaries, leaflets and internal paperwork. We have also changed all of our lightbulbs to low energy bulbs and we are investigating greener ways to heat our office, the installation of solar panels on our roof and other ways to reduce our impact on the environment.
How are we getting on?
Well, we have reduced our carbon emissions but we’re still left with 436 tonnes a year! We will continue to work to reduce this, but in the meantime we have been working to offset these emissions and also create greater biodiversity.
How are we offsetting the remaining carbon emissions and creating greater biodiversity?
Regular customers will know that at Young Driver we aim to plant at 4,000 trees each year to offset our emissions. Each tree offsets 25kg of carbon each year on average, so by planting 4,000 trees this year, by 2030 we will have offset 700 tonnes of carbon. And obviously, next year we plan to reduce our carbon emissions even further and plant another 4,000 trees.
Young Driver’s office sits in nine beautiful acres of Warwickshire countryside. Five years ago, we resolved to encourage wildlife through the creation of a mosaic of habitats including grassland, wildflower meadows, traditional hedgerow, woodland edge, wetland ponds and veteran trees.
We started by rewilding a four-acre space with wildflowers, fruit trees, 200 self-seeding oak trees and the establishment of seven bee hives. Owl boxes in our veteran oak trees became home to tawny owls and barn owls and we have since established an area for the release of rescued hedgehogs. This year, we have constructed a wildlife pond for amphibians, fish, insects and wildfowl, surrounded by a wildflower meadow to encourage butterflies and insects. We have also put up nearly 100 bird and bat boxes to encourage wild birds.
On the remaining grassland our eight rehomed miniature donkeys, two cheeky ponies and eight rare breed sheep provide manure for the local allotment society!
Are we doing anything else?
We should mention our Firefly Sport cars for 4 – 10 year olds. These are the only electric supercars designed and built in Britain from British components! Featuring twin electric motors, the Firefly Sport drives and handles like a real electric car and can be charged from the sun meaning zero emissions in operation! With a seven-hour operating range from one charge, these cars lead the way with realistic controls, tracking indicators and high-tech safety systems. They are also recyclable at the end of life.
4 – 10 year olds can learn to drive in Firefly Sport cars at many of our 70 Young Driver sites and this year we have launched a schools programme teaching youngsters to drive electric cars at their schools.
We are not claiming that we are perfect by any means – there is always room for improvement and much more to be done. However, our customers – young and old - can be confident that Young Driver is doing its best to achieve net zero for the good of the planet.