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Scrap the car to save the planet? Lancaster University lecture on sustainable transport announced

John Freeman
Professor Roger Kemp
Scrap the car to save the planet? That's the title of a free public lecture by engineer Roger Kemp at Lancaster University in February which looks set to challenge many cosy preconceptions about Britain's love affair with the car.

It is widely accepted, both scientifically and politically that we have to make a substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Our continued reliance on petrol and diesel cars and gas-fired central heating is unsustainable.

The problem is what to do. Rather than driving to the shops, should we stay at home and order on-lineAre electric cars the answer – but, if so, how do we ensure they are charged only with “green electricity”? Rather than a condensing boiler, should we buy a heat pump? Should we be campaigning for a light rail system in Lancaster?

Addressing these questions requires looking at the Britain’s energy system as a whole and, when we do this, some of the answers may be counter-intuitive, which many will find surprising.

Roger Kemp, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, spent many years in industry working on transport projects, from electric delivery vans and Docklands Light Railway to Eurostar. Since joining the University he has been heavily involved in energy policy and, in particular transport energy use and the impact of low-carbon policies on Britain’s electricity system.

A professorial fellow working part-time for the University, he is particularly concerned with energy use in transport and contributed to a Department for Transport white paper on sustainable transport. His research interests include the safety regulation of the nuclear industry as well as energy use and safety regulation of transport systems. He has worked extensively overseas on metro and high-speed rail projects (he was the co-author of a paper, "Technical issues raised by the proposal to introduce a 500 km/h magnetically levitated transport system in the UK" (PDF link), June 2007" back in 200) and spent several years in Paris as project director of the consortium that designed and built the Eurostar trains.

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