Greens say Provost should take the train to France

Green Councillors have said Edinburgh’s Lord Provost should be travelling by train to a WWI commemorative service in northern France in July instead of flying. The call for further information on this possibility came during this morning’s Policy & Strategy Committee [1] but was rejected by all other Parties.

The Greens point out that UN and UK Government advice is that mile for mile, flying causes more climate changing pollution than coach and rail travel and because aircraft operate at high altitude the effect of this pollution is at least doubled [2].

The Greens also said that because of continued disruption to flights by the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland, that going by train would be a more reliable option than flying.

Green Group Co-ordinator Cllr. Steve Burgess said;

“The Lord Provost, Councillors and other council staff should be trying to reduce climate changing pollution by considering alternatives to flying. Contalmaison is only about an hour or so by train from the Eurostar station at Lille. The Provost could take a sleeper from Edinburgh and be there in the morning.

“As the City’s top representative, with a high public profile, it’s important that the Lord Provost is seen to be trying to reduce the environmental impact of travel.

“Also, if the Council thinks the Provost’s attendance at this commemoration is important enough, then he should be going by train anyway because volcanic activity could still be disrupting air travel in July.”


1. The Provost has been invited to take part in a Commemorative Service at Contalmaison on 1 July to commemorate the participation of battalions of the Royal Scots at the Battle of the Somme. Policy & Strategy Committee, 11 May 2010, Item 6; McCrae’s Battalion Trust – Commemorative Service at Contalmaison Cairn – 1 July 2010

2. Guidelines to Defra’s GHG conversion factors 2008, Annex 6 Passenger Transport Conversion Tables.