Memorandum submitted by the BioRegional
BioRegional have been developing solutions for
sustainability since 1994. The BioRegional approach is to meet
more of our everyday needs more efficiently from sustainable local
resources so reducing our transport and creating diverse vibrant
local economies. We have hosted a visit from the Environmental
Audit Committee to one of our projects, the BedZED eco-village
in south London.
Concerning reducing transport emissions BioRegional
has demonstrated a number of ways in which we can reduce transport
whilst still meeting our needs. Case study 1 and 2 illustrate
local supply of goods and case study 3 potential for reducing
car use in urban residential developments.
1. Local charcoal supply to national retailers
such as B&Q through what we call a "network production"
model. One supplier (in this case our own BioRegional Charcoal
CompanyBRCC) set up a contract with the national retailer
B&Q. BRCC organises bag design, printing and bar codes and
all contact with B&Q and co-ordinates a network of 30 local
suppliers of charcoal. Orders are placed with BRCC who will then
deal with the small local suppliers who can supply from an average
35 mile distance to the store. Large retailers would never deal
with small local suppliers and so this is one way in which they
can. A University study showed that transport emissions are reduced
by 85% compared to imported charcoal using this method. Charcoal
has been supplied in this way for 10 years. This model could also
be used for food, which would account for most transport emissions
in supply of goods, BioRegional produced a study five years ago
showing how it could be done.
2. Local paper loop. BioRegional have promoted
a local recycle and buy-back loop for office paper in London and
the south east. Offices recycle their paper to the local paper
mill in Kent (the only high grade paper recycling mill in the
UK) and then buy back the paper produced, called EVOLVE. The House
of Commons joined the BioRegional local paper loop in 2001. The
paper is cost competitive and guaranteed in printers. A study
by Surrey University (attached) [not printed] showed that transport
emissions in collection of raw material and delivery of the finished
paper product are reduced from 6.2GJ for imported paper to 0.76GJ
for local recycled paper. An 88% reduction in transport emissions.
3. Reduced car use. The first car club in
London is located at the BedZED eco-village in south London, which
the committee have visited. Surveys at BedZED have shown that
emissions from transport are reduced by 50%-65% thanks to the
green transport plan written for BedZED. The plan includes local
availability of public transport, provision for cycling, an on-site
car club and annual fees for parking spaces of £200 per year.
At BioRegional we specialise in working with
business and government to introduce working models of solutions
and are not experts in drafting policies for reduced transport
However, we make the following points.
1. Maintaining some manufacturing in the
UK is important in reducing global carbon emissions. The scale
of reductions (85-88%) is seen in case study 1 and 2. But UK government
policies add cost burdens through energy taxes and are causing
manufacturing enterprises, particularly the paper industry which
is energy intensive, financial problems. A recent example is the
StRegis Sudbrook Mill. See http://www.paperloop.com/inside/stories/wk02_20_2006/13.html
The government should ensure that its policies do not financially
disadvantage UK manufacturing business when compared to overseas
competitors who do not have to pay these taxes. Perhaps it could
re-imburse the taxes raised in some way. The National Insurance
incentives were not sufficient.
2. Obviously increased energy taxes on carbon
based fuels globally or at least throughout the EU would assist
in encouraging consumer and business take up of reduced transport
solutions. But we strongly suggest that carbon taxes applied only
in the UK have a detrimental effect on UK business, disadvantaging
it to EU or other overseas competitors.
3. Car clubs could perhaps be incentivised
through the planning system. Car clubs could be required to be
established in all new (and possibly existing), urban, large,
high density developments (100 units plus can support two car
club cars) along with limiting car parking space (to one or less
per household), helping to ensure there are good public transport
links and possibly earmarking some funding to cover the initial
set up costs. Car Plus would be able to advise further on this.