Edinburgh’s ‘green’ taxi plan hailed by Kenny MacAskill
Scottish justice minister supports local taxi firm’s carbon offsetting scheme, but opposes Leith biomass plans
Local MSP Kenny MacAskill has backed an Edinburgh taxi firm’s plans to offset the carbon from every booked journey it makes.
Central Taxis estimates it will save around 4,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by signing up to a project capturing methane gas from China’s Tieling coal mines.
MacAskill, the Edinburgh East and Musselburgh MSP, said that while he backed the taxi initiative, he was against the carbon offsetting and other elements planned for a biomass plant at Leith docks.
To achieve carbon neutral certification, Central Taxis is working with the CarbonNeutral Company. It claims its carbon offset project in China is verified to standards that would allow all of Central Taxi’s contract customers to list greener travel in their corporate social responsibility activities.
Central Taxis’ chairman Bill Purnell was joined by the justice secretary to unveil a new ‘green’ taxi at Festival Square off Lothian Road. Purnell said:
“As a cooperative company, all of our drivers are behind this move and we are excited about the opportunity this offers our customers to engage in carbon neutral travel.
“We have always put innovation at the forefront of our customer service strategy and the decision to go CarbonNeutral for booked journeys is a major milestone for us.”
MacAskill said taxis were a ‘necessary’ part of his working life as an MSP:
“Clearly taking a taxi does have a carbon footprint, it does have emissions that come out. But we do have to take taxis, they’re a necessary part of city life everywhere in Scotland and therefore this opportunity to offset it, to see some good action take place elsewhere is all part of playing our part to meet the challenges of global warming.
“I do take a good few few taxis about so this is an innovative way that helps to offset the necessity. I and others do have to take taxis. Not every journey can be made on foot. We have to recognise that it does have a consequence and emissions.”
Asked what he thought of carbon offsetting in relation to the local biomass plant planning application, MacAskill said:
“The biomass plant application is one that I am totally opposed to, as indeed are the SNP group in the council, so I have made my views clear on that. I am a sceptic about certainly the site and indeed other aspects of it.”
His renewed opposition to the biomass plant is nothing new, but is likely to be welcomed by campaigners who last week lobbied the Scottish Parliament over the plans.