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Zero carbon battle bus visits Essex en route to COP26

16 Sep Zero carbon battle bus visits Essex en route to COP26

The UK’s first fully electric ‘Carbon Battle Bus’ made a stop in Braintree on Wednesday 1 September, as part of a nationwide Zero Carbon Tour ending at COP26 in Glasgow later this year.

To celebrate the tour’s arrival and showcase the county’s commitment to fighting climate change, Essex County Council hosted a special event at GRIDSERVE, the UK’s first Electric Forecourt®, alongside the Essex Climate Action Commission and tour organiser, Planet Mark.

The breakfast event featured talks from Toddington Harper, Chief Executive at GRIDSERVE, together with representatives from Essex County Council, Braintree District Council and the Net Zero Innovation Network (NZIN).

Interactive activities for attendees included a Bikeability showcase to demonstrate the popular cycle training programme and the chance to have a go on the Spin E-Scooters currently being trialled around the county.

Organised by Planet Mark, sustainability certification body and partner for the UN Race to Zero campaign, the Carbon Battle Bus began its Zero Carbon Tour at the Houses of Parliament in London, before travelling to the Eden Project in Cornwall to coincide with the intergovernmental G7 summit. The bus will continue to make stops across the UK, ending at Glasgow for COP26.

With aims to raise awareness of the actions already being taken by UK businesses to address the climate crisis, the Zero Carbon Tour has been carrying the crucial net zero message to communities across the UK in support of the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign since June.

Speaking at the event, Cllr Peter Schwier, Climate Czar at Essex County Council, said: “This event has been an invaluable opportunity to learn more from local businesses about their carbon-sensitive planning and responsibility as employers, as well as to engage with residents and increase awareness of COP26.

“I’m extremely proud of the actions to reduce carbon that we are already witnessing across Essex. From grassroots community initiatives including recovery of green spaces, to energy-efficient home improvements, these are the decisions that will yield crucial results for the county in our pledge to meet Net Zero.”

To further emphasise the county’s commitment to decisive climate action Cllr Peter Schwier, along with Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader of Essex County Council and Councillor Graham Butland, Leader of Braintree District Council, planted a symbolic tree at the Electric Forecourt®.

The tree was planted as part of the Essex Forest Initiative, a million-pound project committing to planting 375,000 trees over five years from its inception in October 2019. These trees will cover over 150 hectares, equivalent to the size of 210 football pitches, and the huge effect of this mass planting will lock up 60,000 tonnes of carbon, offsetting any carbon produced which is contributing to ongoing climate change. A recording of the full event can be viewed on the Commission’s website.

A further climate event was held on Saturday 11 September at the GRIDSERVE Electric Forecourt®, for residents and communities to learn more about community energy and electric vehicles (EVs). Residents saw a family-friendly event offering the opportunity to find out more about owning an electric vehicle and the actions we can all take at a community level to tackle the climate emergency.

The EV day at Braintree also hosted a special talk from Community Energy South about a mentoring programme for communities in Essex, designed to encourage residents to lead on sustainable energy initiatives. The scheme has been very successful and led to the development of six Community Energy groups in the county. For anyone interested in joining the groups or starting a new one, please contact Community Energy South –