How very sensible of you to recommend trams as the preferred solution for public transport in urban areas. I attach a note on the potential for integrating waste recycling with ultra light trams. If really good tram networks are installed (and the cost of installing lightweight rail has now been brought below £2 million per route kilometre double track) then, together with pedestrianisation, cycling and rickshaws, urban mobility can be brought to a very high level before having to bring in a few electric taxis.
Unfortunately I cannot get any of the relevant Departments in Government even to discuss these proposals, although Jonathon Porritt has now volunteered to take up the issue. I attach a copy of a letter to Hoon which still awaits a reply. The programme I am suggesting could easily be funded from a progressive transfer of money from the so-called Bus Service Operators Grant which spends some £400 million a year in subsidy to reduce the cost of fuel for diesel buses! The waste needs to be recycled urgently to prevent methane emissions to the atmosphere and to take some of the strain off landfill.
I am afraid I could not get anyone in Bath to answer my request that they should consider ultra light trams as an alternative to diesel buses. In Cambridge the local authorities and DfT spent an unnecessary extra £80-100 million to pull up the rail track to St Ives and replace it with expensive heavy concrete track so that diesel buses could run on it! Not content with that the DfT is now determined to do the same for the Luton to Dunstable route. They have refused to discuss this with us also, even though we have been trying to put forward the tram alternative since 2005 when we submitted a report from AMEC Spie Rail to the public Inquiry. This showed that the capital cost of an Ultra Light Rail system would be some £50 million less than a busway. Operating costs would be lower for trams because of the lower rolling resistance and trams are designed to last at least 30 years. But oncde they have decided on buses the tenders rule out any rail alternative so we cannot even tender for the contract. You would think it would be worth at least discussing the proposal. Unfortunately TfL is the same – closed doors and no replies to emails.
Incidentally I have just started a new company, Aggrowgas Ltd, with two partners, to produce biogas from organic waste, using the same kind of technology that is used in China, India, Nepal etc. One of my partners is Dr David Fulford of Reading University who is one of the judges for the Ashden Awards for Renewable Energy and a world authority on this technology. The plants will be low-cost and flexible capacity so they can be sited close to the available feedstock and reduce the need for costly transport of waste – it is usually cheaper to pipe gas. The digestate will provide an excellent organic fertiliser.
For discussions see: http://groups.google.com/group/biomethane-waste-trams
James Skinner, Sustraco Ltd, Heron House, Chiswick Mall, London W4
2PR Tel: 020 8995 3000 Mobile: 07718887352
City class “going green”
» 1.6 MiB – 233 hits – 16 October 2008
Professor Lewis Lesley, Technical Director, TRAM power Ltd.
Clive Hinchliffe on trams
» 1.6 MiB – 332 hits – 31 March 2009
Carbon trust report from Clive Hinchcliffe on trams / zero-emission-hybrid-railcar
Modern Railways May 2008
» 512.7 KiB – 183 hits – 16 October 2008
Professor Lewis Lesley talks about the lightweight and efficient city class tram, which is proposed as a cheap and viable alternative to diesel buses, since it can run on renewable electricity.
Sustainable transport options. Dr Mark Barrett
» 1.2 MiB – 304 hits – 21 November 2008
University College London Bartlett School of Graduate Studies Society Energy Environment SEE University College London. Discussion around sustainable transport. a superbly detailed discussion of the issues full of enlightening charts and statistics, based on the Green Light Energy modeling programme.
» 81.1 KiB – 218 hits – 16 October 2008
Excellent short piece describing why we need to shift to more public transport, based on trams and light rail using biomethane. James Skinner Sustraco