22 June 2012
Tackling green transport challenges
Electric car in Northumberland National Park
Putting in place affordable and workable green transport solutions is a challenge, so any solution found to work in Northumberland National Park, the most remote and tranquil area of England, should work anywhere.
Following Green Transport Week the National Park Authority reports:
- Ticket sales of the popular Hadrian’s Wall bus service were up 10% last season - with over 36,000 passengers. This service has expanded from just 600 passengers per year in the 1980s.
- Cycle tourism is expanding with new routes available throughout the National Park and across Northumberland including popular routes in the North Tyne and Kielder area.
- Businesses are being supported to reap the benefits of green tourism including the award winning Battlesteads Hotel – Britain’s Best Green Pub 2010.
- Trials of electric vehicles and a much needed rural network of charging points are being put in place.
Northumberland National Park Authority believes in walking the talk on climate change and in recent years its own fossil fuel use has dropped, giving annual cost savings equivalent to 2% of the organisation’s salary bill and a 39% carbon footprint reduction. In the last 18 months staff at the National Park piloted new electric cars and found the charging points essential for using the vehicles in these remote rural areas.
The remoteness of the National Park makes Green Transport a challenge. This area suffers from poor mobile phone and broadband coverage and petrol stations are few and far between. However, the North East of England is set to lead the way on the production of electric cars (at nearby Nissan in Sunderland) and an extensive network of electric charging points is being built, based on robust trials.
Stuart Evans a senior manager for the National Park Authority said: "Green Transport is a difficult challenge and one we have not shied away from. Currently we are working with our communities and businesses to enable them to set-up and run their own local petrol stations to fill the gaps left by the current market failure. Looking to the future we aim to ensure our rural communities and businesses do not get left behind by the next generation of technology by trialling electric vehicles and the charging points.
"This is not easy. Where we find that mobile phone technology does work we use landline broadband to send data back to the national data centre. Like all useful trials, this is a learning exercise and by working with Newcastle University and leading British businesses we aim to ensure as many of the hard lessons are learnt and technological success is built upon."
In recent months the Government’s Office of Fair Trading visited communities in Northumberland National Park to hear about the unfair fuel prices and lack of supply options. The National Park Authority presented evidence to a Parliamentary Committee to press the case for mobile broadband (so-called 4G) to be prioritised to those existing areas with unacceptably poor mobile phone services (so-called 2G).
The most recent Government assessment found that Northumberland National Park Authority was a national exemplar in the way it implements sustainable development by working with local communities and supporting rural businesses.
Electric vehicles deliver double the environmental benefit
Green Transport in the National Park
Cycle Tourism in Northumberland National Park
The case made to Parliament for prioritised mobile broadband
For further information, please contact:
Stuart Evans, Head of Corporate Services
Northumberland National Park Authority
Tel direct: 01434 611527 mobile: 07585 114329