The national campaign with the slogan “Not far? Leave the car” aims to improve car-users’ health by persuading them to walk on journeys of about two miles and under.
It was launched following criticism of government ministers, including Alex Salmond, for their reliance on ministerial limousines. In 2009, Mr Salmond travelled 150 yards in his chauffeur-driven car between the Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace to meet the Queen. The First Minister was also criticised for taking his limo to a restaurant in George Street, a few hundred yards from his Bute House residence, in 2008.
In 2012, transport minister Keith Brown arrived at a “green” conference in his car, while six ministers took limos to the Pope’s open-air mass in 2010.
The campaign includes TV, radio and outdoor advertising, as well as partnership working to encourage people to reassess their car use. A phone app has also been created to help people track the benefits, through plotting and recording journeys in order to calculate the calories burned and emissions saved.
Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Mile for mile, it’s the short car journeys that create the most carbon emissions.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman added: “What’s important is to use public transport, walk or cycle, and ministers will continue to do this wherever they have the opportunity.”