Electric road train 'would help fight climate change in Camden'

AN ELECTRIC train and a car free zone are the latest wacky suggestions to help make Hampstead more environmentally friendly

Katie Davies

AN ELECTRIC train and a car free zone are the latest wacky suggestions to help make Hampstead more environmentally friendly.

Greenie councillor Alexis Rowell has put forward plans for a special electric train on wheels - like those seen in tourist resorts - to run through the village.

The aim is to reduce carbon emissions and encourage more sightseers to the area.

Cllr Rowell, who is head of the council's sustainability taskforce, said: "This is a serious proposal. These trains don't have to be quite as naff as people expect.

"They have a role to play in a hilly area like Hampstead - as part of the school run, helping the elderly with their shopping and attracting tourists.

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"We have support from local residents associations like Frognal and Redington and Belsize, we just have to look at the expense."

The suggestion comes as part of a raft of transport proposals put forward by the taskforce.

Its report also calls for village areas, including parts of Hampstead, Highgate and Primrose Hill to have car free periods.

This would be coupled with community events to improve the popularity of the area.

Linda Chung, chairwoman of traders' group NW3Hampstead, is backing the measures.

She said: "We need new ideas to make the village unique and this train sounds charming.

"It depends on the look, the route and the frequency but it sounds like a good idea.

"Car free is good too as long as there is more detail, also people would need bags of notice about any of it."

The report will be discussed by Camden Council's executive committee at the end of next month.

Previously 90 per cent of the taskforce's energy proposals and 70 per cent of its waste report suggestions were adopted by the council.

Members of the group have also urged the council to introduce a 20mph limit throughout the borough.

Businesses will also be asked to do their bit for the environment with plans for a Camden Carbon Offset Fund.

This would give businesses or individuals the opportunity to make donations to offset the carbon pollution they have caused through transport like flying.

The cash would then be spent on carbon reduction projects in Camden.

Other plans include a radical redesign of Fitzjohns Avenue, a review of the Swiss Cottage gyratory as well as the introduction of more cycle paths and walking signs.

The taskforce has also taken a swipe at cars. It wants the price of parking permits for cars with bigger engines to go up from £145 to £300.

Cllr Rowell added: "Transport is responsible for 22 per cent of Camden's carbon emissions and we have to do something about it."