Local organic gardener ditches van to help tackle climate breakdown

For immediate release

Richard MacKenzie: hello@richardthegardener.co.uk 

A local organic gardener was moved to tears when he saw thousands of school students marching in the streets of Oxford demanding action on climate change in September. He has now ditched his van for a cargo-bike to travel to his customers in Kidlington and North Oxford reducing his travel emissions to zero including greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants. 

Richard MacKenzie (39), who is based in Kidlington, decided that his business had to become more sustainable and produce fewer greenhouse gases to help in tackling the current climate emergency. 

Although he aimed to make changes in spring 2020, Mr MacKenzie’s plan became urgent when his diesel van broke down in October and was beyond economical repair. 

After much research and testing, he settled on an 8Freight bike with cargo-box, the same setup used by emission-free Oxford couriers Pedal & Post. 

Richard said, “I looked at the environmental cost and the expense, in thousands per year, of running a van. Getting a cargo-bike to travel with my tools to my customers locally became a no-brainer”. He added, “I’ve already saved many kilos of carbon dioxide from being released as well as money that would have gone towards diesel, insurance and tax that a van devours.”

All being well, Mr MacKenzie will save around £3,500 each year by not having a van when purchase, vehicle excise duty, insurance and diesel are taken into account. It also will mean no more expensive garage bills. 

Scott Urban, a director of local campaigning group Oxfordshire Liveable Streets said, “By making this change, Richard has not only helped the city and our environment, he has also future-proofed himself for the changes to Oxford transport coming in the next couple of years. 

“By using a bike, Richard will sail through the ‘bus gates’ that have been proposed by both the county and city councils to prioritise active and sustainable modes of transport over private vehicular transport.” 

Richard set up his organic garden maintenance business in 2015 after working in a local market garden. Initially based in Witney, he moved the business to Kidlington in 2017 when he and his young family moved aboard their narrowboat to live life on Oxfordshire’s waterways. 

Twitter: twitter.com/_The_Gardener_
Facebook: facebook.com/GardenerRichard
Website: richardthegardener.co.uk

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