Scotland’s Transport Future in a Changing World

Conference notes from Aviemore, Wed 28th Sept – from Iona

Scotflag working groups are working on reducing carbon emissions from transport by 80% over 40 years. They are proposing a trial of increasing the lorry speed up to 50 MPH from the current 40 MPH, speculating this will reduce accidents by causing less frustration in other road-users. On the same theme, Phil Flanders (director at RHA Scotland and NI) advises the Scottish Government are also looking into increasing the speed limit for motorists on motorways from the current 70 up to 80 MPH, to reduce accidents and relieve build ups.

Sam Greer from Regional Director Stagecoach Plc explained about the Bio buses project, launched in 2007, operating in Kilmarnock and Cambridge. The buses run on 100% recycled cooking oil, some of it collected from passengers who are encouraged to make deposits to containers on the bus itself (in return for dicounted bus travel). There are 9 buses which operate on the Kilmarnock route, all of which are fuelled by 100% waste-derived biofuel. This has contributed to a reduction in CO2 emissions from the vehicles by 80%, saving more than 2450 tonnes of carbon. More than 70 tonnes of used cooking oil has been recycled at East Ayrshire Council’s recycling plant since the start of the scheme.

In a new project, Stagecoach has become the first UK bus company to mix its own biofuel on site using a new bio-blender installed at its Kilmarnock depot. Introduction of the high-tech kit will see around 100 buses in the west of Scotland operating on up to 40% biofuel which will be mixed on site (Currently, the vast majority of Stagecoach’s 8,100-strong bus fleet operates using a mix of 5% biofuel and 95% standard diesel). The Perth-based transport group has invested £75,000 in the new technology and has also worked closely with Argent Energy in the delivery of the project. The blender was supplied by Fuel Additive Technology (FAT) Biofuels while the pump was manufactured by Solution Specialists Limited (SSL).

Life+ Funding Programme

I attended a Life+ funding opportunities awareness event in Glasgow this week. Don’t normally go to European funding events outside of Energy, but Life+ is the main instrument to implement EU environmental policy, and I thought there might be some opportunities linking environmental protection with energy (see some of the energy and environment interests in the MaREE project as an example).
Three strands of work are supported;
Nature and Biodiversity – mainly in support of the birds and habitats directive, in particular the halting of biodiversity
Environment Policy and Governance – looking at the development of innovative environmental policy approaches, as well as implementing existing environmental policy.
Information and Communication – communication and awareness raising campaigns on environmental, nature protection issues, as well as projects related to forest fire prevention (very topical this past few week!).
There could be some opportunity for partners interested in BioEnergy solutions (wood fuel and Biofuels from algae?) and linking this to wider biodiversity strategies.
The programme does not fund research and development actions (though will support a limited research element) and requires a match of 50%, which could be a constraint.
For more detail take a look at Life+