Green travel to green places

In search of climate and wildlife stories…by bike

Green travel is two thirds cleaner than my car — November 14, 2012

Green travel is two thirds cleaner than my car

In my recent blog post Green travel emits 60% less CO2 I calculated that by travelling by bike and train on my sabbatical I saved more than half the carbon I would have emitted if I used a car. I has used an online calculator and chose the small car option (and the emissions attributed to that small car per mile)’. 

Last week we had to by a new tax disk and thankfully the DVLA sends a reminder. It states on the paper details of our car including Engine Capacity/CO2. For our car this is 151g/km. Now as our car is getting on for 10 years old I guess that it is now less efficient than when it was made but its the best information we have so I’ll use that.

If I travelled to all the reserves by car I would have driven 843 miles or 1357km. If I had used my car it would have pumped out a total of 205kg CO2 – more than the ‘small car’ option used by the estimator earlier. So this means that compared to travelling in my own car I emitted 67% or two thirds less CO2 through my green travel.

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Taxpayers pay £100 per bike ride! — November 1, 2012

Taxpayers pay £100 per bike ride!

Bike2Go bikes at Dumfries station

When I got off the train in Dumfries back in August I was surprised to see Dumfries and Galloway’s (D&G) version of the Boris Bike. A few Bike2Go bikes were sitting at the station. I wondered then how often they were used – the answer is not much. An article in the Scotsman showed that the cost to the taxpayer of every journey was a whopping £101.37 as fewer than 20 bikes were rented each week http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/scotland/dumfries-and-galloway-council-s-bike2go-scheme-costs-taxpayers-101-per-trip-1-2541900 The Council says the scheme is to remain for the long-term so it’s good they aren’t scrapping it and selling off the bikes. In the article Deputy Council Leader Brian Collins (also chairman of regional transport agency Swestrans) said ‘We’re seeking a change of mindset’, but changing mind-sets is about more than a few bikes. 

Planning a trip around D&G by bus is a serious headache as services are few and far between, especially away from the towns. The area is a popular holiday destination but going without a car is practically impossible. The roads are good though – a joy to ride. I really noticed this on my ride from Newton Stewart to Girvan, the potholes started as soon as I crossed into South Ayrshire.

When I stayed in Newton Stewart I was told that the Council has stopped kerbside recycling because of the recession. Shame that a reduced budget hits recycling first. So I can’t help thinking that D&G Council has cut back on recycling and prefers to keep car drivers happy. Getting people to think differently and travel in a greener way will take more than a few rental bikes. It means spending a greater proportion of budgets on the environment (including better bus services and recycling) and greater leadership on environmental issues. Perhaps, it’s Councillor Collins and his colleagues who need to change their mind-sets.