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  • Writer's pictureRichard Hammond

COP26 & Treehouses

The latest news on travel during the climate and nature emergencies

train in scottish countryside
Avanti West Coast train on Docker Viaduct between London Euston and Glasgow Central. Photo: Avanti West Coast

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In The News

All Aboard the Climate Train to COP26 Eurostar has announced it will be running a special service from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Brussels to Glasgow via London for delegates to travel to COP26. The 'Climate Train' Eurostar service will depart Amsterdam Central on 30th October travelling to London St. Pancras International via Brussels-Midi. From here passengers will travel to London Euston to board an Avanti West Coast service to Glasgow Central.

New IPCC report on Climate Change

This week the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its latest assessment of the “physical science basis” for climate change. The last time it published this kind of full scale assessment was 8 years ago and it makes for sober reading. The report runs to 3,000 pages and references more than 14,000 scientific papers. As Carbon Brief explains, "While this can be a bruising ordeal for the IPCC scientists, it means that no government can turn around later and say they don’t accept the science." Read Carbon Brief's in-depth Q&A about the report, which says that the scientists couldn’t really be any clearer – "climate change and weather extremes are being driven by human-caused emissions and, if that continues, the global warming experienced to date will only get worse."

New Juliana Trail in Slovenia

The Guardian reports on "the latest addition to the country’s sustainable tourism plan" – a 270km walking trail across one of Europe’s oldest national parks: Slovenia’s new Juliana Trail reveals a land of water, rock and forest

Supporting Women in Travel

The Financial Times travel section sent writer Chris Allnutt to sample a new Intrepid Urban Adventures trip in London - The Ethiopian Flavours in Shepherd's Bush All - whose guides are all women - a portion of ticket sales goes to social enterprise Women in Travel. Read the article: Postcard from Shepherd's Bush - a taste of Ethiopia.

"Green Savvy" Brits willing to switch planes for trains

Omio – the German online multi-modal travel comparison and booking website – reports on research it has commissioned by YouGov that it says shows almost half of Brits are willing to take the train over the plane. The data, which is based on an online survey of 2,153 people between 30 June and 4 July 2021, reports that 45% of Brits surveyed said that they would choose trains over planes "for travel based on greater sustainability", although pricing continues to be a key motivator: 49% would be more likely to switch to rail travel purely if the ticket price was cheaper than flying. Almost a third of UK respondents would happily accept a slightly longer journey if it had a positive impact on the environment with almost a third willing to spend up to an additional 30 minutes travelling, and 16% are content to double that to up to 60 minutes longer.

Omio's Boris Radke said: “Our recent survey shows there has been a shift in the ways Brits choose to travel pre and post Covid. As we emerge from a global pandemic and travel resumes, we hope to encourage consumers to consider they can support sustainable travel whilst potentially saving time and money.”

“The common perception that flying is always the fastest way to get from A to B doesn’t necessarily hold true once you consider the additional time required to get to the airport, queue at check-in or security and wait to board or retrieve baggage. In fact, travelling by train or even coach can be just as quick or quicker. Add to that the high quality accommodation onboard long-distance trains and coaches across Europe, which are generally equipped with comfy seats, refreshments, WiFi, tables and plug sockets, the benefits to the environment and the bigger baggage allowance and it becomes a highly attractive alternative”.

Trains far greener but much more costly than planes, analysis finds

The Guardian and both report on a Which? investigation, which compared the train and plane fares on popular UK routes. It found that half of train fares are more expensive than plane fares despite rail journeys causing 80% lower carbon dioxide emissions.

A new green cycling route with the cycle hire scheme in Glasgow

Nextbikes cycle hire scheme’s new sponsor, OVO Energy, have given the Glasgow bikes a new look and with the launch of the rebranded OVO Bikes is a new “bike green” route, which takes visitors to sustainable businesses throughout the city by bike. See the Green Route map. A ride costs £1 per 30 minutes, or a maximum of £10 per day (less for members). E-bikes are also available at the rate of £2 per 20 min.

Sustrans unveils new murals

The nationwide walking and cycling organisation Sustrans has unveiled new murals created by local artists along the National cycle Network Route 77 between Perth and Almondbank.

Cycle Rail map

A new map has been produced highlighting cycling and rail routes connected to the Kingfisher Trail, which features 22 beautifully adorned kingfishers, created by locally and internationally respected artists, perched across the Cotswolds National Landscape. The map has been produced by the Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership (GCRP), which aims "to improve accessibility to public transport and contribute to peoples’ positive experiences of sustainable tourism across Gloucestershire". As part of that, they are involved in a number of community projects to highlight and promote the rail network and access to railway stations across the region.

The Times launches Green Travel section

The Times has launched a Green Travel section on its website, pledging to "keep green travel at the very top of our agenda,". It first few articles offer plenty of ideas and inspiration for travelling ethically and sustainably, including a guide to 'how to green up your travels post-pandemic' and a feature on '9 ethical travel companies going the extra, eco-friendly mile'.

New Treehouse Holiday in Northumberland

A luxury new treehouse has opened at Beacon Hill Farm Holiday Cottages in Northumberland.

Dundreggan Rewilding Centre to open in 2022

Trees for life, the organisation that is rewilding areas of Scotland, in particular to reintroduce the native Caledonian pines, is planning to open the Dundreggan Rewilding Centre to visitors in 2022 "to engage with a larger and more diverse audience". Architectural plans have been finalised, planning permission has been granted, and the building contractor has been selected.

Loganair to trial electric planes

Loganair, the Scottish airline, is developing electric planes to join their fleet, possibly by 2024. The first one should be running the very short connection between Westray and Papa Westray, the shortest commercial flight route in the world. Read more about Project Freeson.

Green Traveller Feature of the Week

How to travel to Glasgow COP26 by public transport COP26 is being held from the 31st October to 12th November 2021 at The Scottish Event Campus (SEC), which is in Glasgow's west end not far from the city centre and has its own railway station, so it's pretty easy to reach by public transport. Here is our round up of some of the many options for low carbon travel to COP26, whether you've travelling a short distance by train, bus or bike, or long distance, by train, yacht or even cargo boat.


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