Driving a green agenda

To highlight Labour’s commitment to tackling Climate Change I drove Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray to our canvassing session in Gorgie in a City Car Club car.

I’d booked one of the new Prius cars now available which has an electric battery which powers up while the car is being driven.  It was simple to drive and there were some interesting features to make me more aware of driving in a fuel efficient manner.

I was an early supporter of the City Car Club movement having seen the expansion of city car clubs in Europe. They enable people affordable access to car use without the hassle and costs of ownership. I’m proud that Edinburgh was the first city in the UK to have a city car club. It’s estimated that the City Car Club fleet has now removed around 12,500 cars off our roads. There is a double benefit as the club cars emit an average 37% less CO2 compared to the cars most of us drive.

Being a car club member makes you think twice about automatically using a car for journeys as you pay as you go. The club has grown from an initial couple of cars in Marchmont to 87 vehicles in Edinburgh. There are different sizes and types of cars spread across the city, including two transit vans which have recently been added to the fleet. Last year City Car Club launched in Glasgow where there are now 6 cars with another 7 planned. The club is used in Edinburgh by residents, private companies and public sector organisations.

I believe that car clubs have a role to play as part of a shift to greener lifestyles. A Scottish Labour Government would make promoting sustainable transport a priority – vital if we are to reduce our carbon emissions while we come out of the recession. There are other policies we’d support: we’d invest more in active travel by increasing the proportion spent on cycling, promoting a Cycle Friendly Employer Scheme, and working to meet a target of 10% of all our trips to be made by bike by the year 2020.

We’re also committed to more regulation of our buses to ensure that standards are raised and more people are able to use buses to get around. We also need more energy efficient buses, and more real time information to make buses a high quality choice that people to rely on.

Finally we’re committed to delivering 10,000 electric vehicle charging points in our towns and cities by the year 2015. There are currently only 10 in Scotland. We need the Scottish Government to take a lead if this is to happen and we are to make the most of new low carbon technologies. We’ve got Scottish companies such as Alexander Dennis in Falkirk who make green buses, Axeon in Dundee who are pushing ahead with battery technology and Allied Vehicles in Glasgow who produce electric cars and vans. We need more ambition on green jobs and lower emissions and Scottish Labour are determined to lead the way. You can find out more about our policies by clicking here to read our manifesto.