The Eco Travel Network is set to be launched on Tuesday, July 17, offering visitors and residents the chance to explore the National Park in low energy vehicles that can be powered entirely by locally generated electricity gathered from abundant Welsh sun, rain and wind.
The scheme has been made possible thanks to 50 per cent match funding from Brecon Beacons National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund, enabling the Eco Travel Network to put six Renault Twizy vehicles on our rural roads. Measuring just 2.34 metres long and 1.24 metres wide, the ‘rural chic’ quadricycles can carry two people, have a top speed of 50mph and can travel up to 50 miles between charges on local Welsh roads.
With National Park visitors driving an average of 300 miles during a one week stay – at a cost of 50,000 tonnes of CO2 a year – the Eco Travel Network’s Twizys are a zero carbon travel alternative.
Founding Director of the Eco Travel Network Alison Kidd explained: “Most journeys in the UK are less than five miles but we do them in cars designed to go 500 miles at 70 mph. Most of a car’s energy is used to move the weight of the vehicle rather than the people inside. Changing attitudes (in this case to car travel) starts with changing behaviour and the best way to trigger a new behaviour is to make it fun. The Eco Travel Network is about making greener travel novel and fun and people on holiday are more open to trying new, fun experiences. Hopefully, they will take that experience and different way of thinking back to their everyday lives.”
Accommodation businesses have joined the project and will be able to lease vehicles and rent them out to guests to encourage green travel in this environmentally-important part of Wales. The initiative makes the Brecon Beacons the first UK National Park to offer electric car rental through its accommodation businesses. As part of the initiative, more than 20 informal charge points for electric vehicles have been set up in pubs, cafes and visitor attractions around the National Park.
Hay-on-Wye tourism business owner and Eco Travel Network Director Ian Foster, added: “Not only are the Twizys an environmentally friendly way for our visitors to travel, but the ever expanding network of charging stations in the area is connecting tourism businesses around the National Park.”
The Eco Travel Network project was set-up after an initial research study into visitor travel in 2010, part-funded by Brecon Beacons National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund. Now, thanks to a further successful application to the Sustainable Development Fund those early dreams have become a reality.
Cllr Evan Morgan, Chairman of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund, said: “Support from the Sustainable Development Fund has helped the Eco Travel Network with start up costs and has really got this project off the ground. This scheme will have benefits for the local economy, environment and community, and we’re pleased to support such an innovative approach to sustainable travel.”
If you have a project or event that you think would be worthy of funding support from the Sustainable Development Fund, contact Helen Roderick or Ceri Bevan on 01874 620471 to discuss how we could help or visit www.breconbeacons.org for further information.
For more information about the Eco Travel Network visit www.ecotravelnetwork.co.uk