COP26 battle bus visits Lancashire

A 100 per cent electric Carbon Battle Bus stopped in Lancashire to hear about local environmental initiatives on its way from Cornwall to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.

The bus, which is being driven by net zero certification company Planet Mark, aims to highlight carbon-cutting initiatives from around the country and encourage companies to commit to going net zero ahead of COP26.

Lancaster University worked with partners at the Lancaster City Council and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership to support the Zero Carbon Tour’s visit to Lancaster, where a number of local initiatives were showcased including Going Electric Together, Renewable Energy That Doesn’t Cost the Earth, Creating a Sustainable Future Together in Morecambe Bay and Carbon Accounting for Net Zero.

With the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business and the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University also boasts one of the largest groups of sustainability and environmental scientists in Europe. Researchers examine climate change from many perspectives, helping address this complex issue.

The university declared climate emergency in November 2020 and aims to become carbon neutral by 2035. The university has already, for example, reduced its electricity and heating emissions by 50 per cent since 2005 through initiatives such as a biomass boiler, solar panels, district heating systems and a wind turbine at Hazelrigg.

Professor Simon Guy, pro-vice-chancellor for Global at Lancaster University, said: “Lancaster University thrives on partnership working. It was great to be able to share stories of just a few of our projects that bring together cutting-edge research and practitioner capabilities across public and private sectors including with local businesses and organisations. We have seen through experience that this way of working is essential to get to net-zero.

"It was nice to also demonstrate some of our fantastic renewable energy facilities that are helping to make our campus a lead example of how universities can reduce their operational carbon emissions.”

The bus also visited Burnley, where 60 delegates lead by the mayor of Burnley Mark Townsend greeted its arrival.

Several local organisations told their carbon reduction stories, as well as some of the technologies and programmes available to support Lancashire's businesses towards decarbonisation.

Debbie Francis, chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: "'Lancashire not only has one of the most ambitious Net Zero targets in the country, but the combination of its diverse strengths in energy and low carbon technologies and manufacturing heritage means it has a unique low carbon ecosystem.  These capabilities have the potential to make a significant contribution to this important agenda and the UK's Net Zero ambitions.  

"Burnley and East Lancashire was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution and is globally renowned for its advanced manufacturing and technical expertise. It is therefore fitting that the majestic Towneley Hall provided the setting to showcase some of the area's innovative solutions to tackle the climate crisis."

Coun Mark Townsend, added: "Coal and cotton were part of our borough's successful past. I'm excited that our advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses, and the green technologies that come from them, are a key part of our present and future.

"The whole world has awoken to the challenges we face - and we all have a part to play in tackling them. Yes, there's a threat, but there is also opportunity for development and growth, and we must grasp that while we can."

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