Tag Archives: ComOOt

Cabinet agrees Climate Change ‘Green Deal’ – UK ‘world leader’ in cutting carbon emissions

By David Bicknell

The Coalition is expected to announce this week that it has agreed a far-reaching, legally binding “green deal” that will commit the UK to two decades of drastic cuts in carbon emissions. The package, reported last weekend in The Observer, will, it is claimed, place Britain at the forefront of the global battle against climate change.

Huhne is now expected to tell parliament that the government will accept the recommendations of the independent committee on climate change for a new carbon budget. The deal puts the UK ahead of any other state in terms of the legal commitments it is making in the battle to curb greenhouse gases.

The new budget puts the government on target to meet a reduction by 2050 of 80% of carbon emissions compared with 1990 levels. The committee has said that to reach this carbon emissions should be cut by 60% by 2030.

The article says ministers believe that major companies involved in developing offshore wind technology – such as Siemens, Vestas and General Electric – will now be keener to invest in Britain, knowing it is committed to a huge expansion in renewable energy. It is also hoped that the commitment to renewable energy – the committee says 40% of the UK’s power should come from wind, wave and tide sources by 2030 – will stimulate new industries.

These would include the development of tidal power plants, wave generators and carbon capture and storage technology – which would extract carbon dioxide from coal and oil plants and pump it into underground chambers. All three technologies, if developed in Britain, could be major currency earners.

The committee’s report says the new carbon deal will require that heat pumps will have had to be installed in 2.6m homes by 2025. It also says that by the same date 31% of new cars, and 14% of those on the road overall, will be electric. Experts say a total of £16bn of investment will be needed every year to meet the commitment. Some of this money will be raised through increases in electricity prices.

It is interesting to see that there is a mention of electric cars. No one, however, seems to have yet spotted the potential of electric bikes. One newly announced scheme, ComOOt, which would help London-based companies reduce their mushrooming subsidised travel bills for their commuting employees, has so far failed to make it onto the radar screen of a Transport Department blinkered by electric cars, and with a fanciful notion that the infrastructure will one day be in place to support them.

Get on your ‘electric’ bike – a new environmental approach to tackling commuter transport

By David Bicknell

From an environmental point of view, one of the areas that government is going to have to get to grips with is transport with respect to carbon emissions.

It’s well-documented in this post by ecoXchange on its greeninblackandwhite blog. The piece discusses why the focus of central government and the Mayor’s Office in London is only on four-wheeled electric cars, and why these authorities are failing to take on board the benefits  of two wheeled electric bikes, which might be the ideal solution to the likely transport problems facing visitors to the Olympics in 2012.

There’s an economic aspect here too. Rising costs, for business or individual use are a major headache – whether transporting product or people. Overall transport costs have risen by nearly 25% in the last year and are likely to rise by another 30% or more, over the next three years. And that means increased transport subsidies from companies to their commuting employees.

Electric or electric/hybrid cars may help reduce emissions, but will do nothing in terms of reducing congestion, over-crowding or journey times. This debate urgently needs to go beyond the recharging electric cars argument.

Eco-Xchange plan set to offer greener commuting alternative

  By David Bicknell

The Government’s new Carbon Plan has insisted that if we are to see large-scale take-up of electric vehicles as a major form of road transport, developing a charging infrastructure will also be vital and the Government has committed to mandating a national recharging network. By June 2011, the Government will produce a strategy setting out how it will promote the provision of nationwide recharging infrastructure.  And we can probably expect something to emerge about low-carbon transport in the Budget this week.

The reality is that travelling into and around towns has never been more expensive or congested. Fares are increasing three times faster than inflation on public transport that is overcrowded and unreliable. Electric and hybrid cars will reduce emissions and pollution, but issues of congestion and parking in urban conurbations will prevail.

Public transport can be modernised and capacity increased to a point, but this will demand massive investment and space within cities is already at a premium for houses and office space, without additional demands from the transport infrastructure.

A new paper from the influential Eco-Xchange group, which sets out to look at green ‘in black and white’  argues that a different approach is needed that looks at the complete picture and provides a solution that is cost effective, flexible, environmentally responsible, and takes into account the specific issues of inner-city travel.

 The paper, ‘Why Commute When you can ComOOt’, argues that two wheels are better than four when it comes to getting from A to B in over-crowded city environments. By providing a range of electric powered two-wheelers from pedal bikes to motorbikes aimed specifically at getting the workforce to work, Eco-Xchange  argues it will be possible to save on public transport subsidies, reduce congestion and lower carbon emissions.  The ComOOT plan also includes secure parking and charging facilities, and the maintenance services needed to keep the wheels of business turning.

There is evidence that Olympic organisers and Transport for London are increasingly worried about the demands that the Games will place on London’s transport infrastructure and have suggested that visitors should not rely on public transport to get them to the Games’ venues in a timely fashion. At the same time, City businesses are also concerned that the additional demand on, already overcrowed, roads and rail services will lead to severe problems for their workforce and disruption to their business.

The average range of the bikes proposed would allow a comfortable return journey from the West End to the main Olympic site near Leyton.   

There is an element of social enterprise to the scheme too because Eco-Xchange argues that ComOOt  will provide a wide range of jobs covering everything from general servicing and support to general operational management, set up on a social enterprise basis, under a  Community Interest Company model.  The focus will be on offering a range of apprenticeships and vocational training as well as operational jobs at local and national level. 

According to Eco-Xchange, ComOOt is an ongoing project and will require R&D in all areas to improve the system over time. This will particularly suit those just starting out in the workplace who will benefit from  gaining qualifications and training on an ongoing basis in the new and growing industry sectors in the Cleantech and Greentech economies. 

Eco-Xchange acts as an interface between buyers and suppliers to develop and improve the adoption of ecoproducts in the business environment. It is acting as consultants to ComOOt, helping both to source the various components needed for the service, and to develop business plans and promote this excellent idea for inner-city travel. As part of the promotion of ComOOt Eco-Xchange has assisted with, and sponsored a paper that sets out the concept and looks for a founding partner or sponsor to help develop the scheme.

Anyone wishing to know more about ComOOt (or about Eco-Xchange) please contact enquiries@eco-xchange.com.