Future Now Transport Fair

Scores of people attended Lightfoot Enterprises’ Future Now Transport Fair at the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells, on Sunday, 17th November.

Event organiser, Dave Thomlinson, said, “We were delighted that so many people came to the event. We had a big variety of electric cars in the car park and people took the opportunity to go for rides including in the new Tesla Model 3. There was also much interest in Riversimple Rasa hydrogen fuel cell car and in the electric bikes. Inside 40 people attended the workshop with many ideas for the future of decarbonised transport”.

 Dave continued, “Local organisation, Trawsnewid Llandrindod Transition is now looking at possibilities for an electric bike hire scheme, a car share scheme, how public transport can be better integrated and how it can be switched to running on electricity.”

‘Decarbonising TransportA report from David Strachan at the ‘Future Now Transport Fair,

My arrival in the Hotel Metropole car park was confronted by a touch of practical reality and a glimpse of possible ways forward – a line-up of zero emission cars, electric and pedal cycles. The battery cars were taking advantage of the hotel’s charging points, perhaps the only ones in this area, and the director of Riversimple was showing and answering questions about the latest incarnation of the Rasa hydrogen fuel-cell powered car. A pedal rickshaw, rental bike and a bike operated by a rowing action instead of rotary pedals were displayed but I took the opportunity of trying out a couple of electric bikes – great, practical fun for the weaker-kneed amongst us!
The strapline of the afternoon was ‘Decarbonising transport now and into the future – what do we want and how do we get there?’ Displays and leaflets inside provided information on issues such as carbon footprints, recent history and current availability of electric vehicles (cars and commercial).
Sit-down sessions commenced with a talk by Hugo Spowers about the radical thinking behind River Simple and how it fits into the concept of a Circular Economy and continued with Gordon Coppock of Lighfoot, a physicist and electric vehicle enthusiast, giving an overview of issues and the work of Zero Carbon Herefordshire. He said ‘integrated, technically feasible solutions do exist’, mentioned electric and pedal-powered buses and highlighted a number of interesting statistics including that only 20% of a car’s fuel is actually used for moving, only 19% of flights are for business (as opposed to leisure) and the UK has a carbon footprint of 5.65 tonnes of carbon per capita.

The Llanidloes Car Club was introduced by founder Andrew. It actually owns or leases 3 cars, one of
which is electric, and is largely funded by its own revenues. However, Andrew says it is about systems rather than the cars themselves and we need to work toward behaviour change around ownership and use. (NB: various attempts have been made to set up a Car Club/Car Sharing scheme in Llandrindod but fizzled out – could now be the right time? Are there folks out there willing to revive it?).

Jake Berriman, a Powys County Councillor but speaking as a director of the Heart of Wales
Development Company, the Community Rail Partnership for the HoW Railway Line, described how it is about sustaining communities rather than just the trains. They are pushing for the roll-out of cleaner, more efficient diesels this side of the government aim to phase them out by 2040.
Conventional electrification is not possible here, so hydrogen power might be a viable alternative and various experiments are taking place.
We finished with an action planning workshop to consider plans for decarbonising transport in
Llandrindod, Builth, Powys, and the wider region. This started with a mass exercise in defining and reaching a consensus on what we mean by ‘sustainability’, using pictures. Each break-out group then brainstormed ideas for attention and action, which were circulated around the other tables to mark the extent of our agreement on the listed points. These will be written up and circulated by the organisers.
We finished with an action planning workshop to consider plans for decarbonising transport in Llandrindod, Builth, Powys, and the wider region.