In celebration of World Environment Day, we find that It is always interesting to see what other countries are doing to reduce their carbon footprints and dependence on fossil fuels. The UK, ever at the forefront of the ecology movement, has recently undertaken a couple of new initiatives aimed at doing both.
In March, the government launched a multi-million pound demonstration program to encourage road haulage operators to buy and use low carbon vehicles. Managed by the Technology Strategy Board and the Department For Transport, the trial will assist operators in creating small fleets (5 to 35 vehicles) of alternative-energy vehicles by partially funding not only the purchase of vehicles, but also the infrastructure necessary to fuel them. The demonstration fleets will operate for two years, and the vehicles and infrastructure will remain with the participants after the conclusion of the demonstration period.
The competition to participate in the trial is open to businesses of all sizes. One condition for participation is that the participant must be willing to grant access for other commercial and public service vehicle operators to access the trial’s gas refueling hubs. To learn more about the trial program, visit http://www.transportengineer.org.uk/article/40928/Competition-to-speed-up-introduction-of-low-carbon-commercial-vehicles-.aspx.
Another government program is aimed at reducing the cost, energy consumption and light pollution caused by streetlights on its motorways. The government has ordered the Highway Agency to “minimize obtrusive light” by either switching off streetlights completely or decreasing their intensity. So far, this has resulted in the lights being turned off on more than 80 miles of the motorway network, but the agency still must find another 2,500 miles of main roads on which to do the same. Authorities say it may be possible to use existing technology to remotely control the lights so that they are at their brightest during busy traffic times, then dimmed or shut off when traffic is lightest or non-existent. The plan should reduce the country’s energy bill, reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and diminish light pollution enough that city dwellers can enjoy the wonders of the nighttime sky. For more information, check out http://inhabitat.com/uk-to-dim-motorway-lights-to-save-energy-and-reduce-co2-emissions/.