2020-07-22 14:53:33 来源:参考消息网 责任编辑:张威威

From Dusted-off Bikes to Electric Dreams:UK Green Economy Booms on Back of Covid-19 从自行车复苏到电动交通梦:英国绿色经济在疫情下蓬勃发展

Jillian Ambrose 吉莉恩·安布罗斯

The queues were “absolutely crazy”, says Gavin Hudson, the owner of the cycle repair startup Butternut Bikes. As lockdown descended he began fixing old bikes in the parking lot of a Methodist church in north London, before moving his services to a furloughed pub in Crouch End. However, the surge in demand for cycle repairs meant the pop-up was soon able to afford a permanent address.

“Some people come in and tell us they haven't been on a bike in 10 years,” Hudson says. “They are dragging all kinds of bikes, covered in cobwebs, out from the shed to get back on the roads. It's great. I think it's really true that there are few problems in society today that can't be made better by getting people walking and cycling more.”

Butternut Bikes is one of countless British businesses poised to profit from a green economic boom in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. While the government faces growing pressure to unveil a post-pandemic economic stimulus package that is climate friendly, Britain's economic green shoots are already in evidence.

Steven Jennings, a partner at the global advisory firm PwC, says the lockdown has triggered a paradigm shift for consumers and companies that is already accelerating developments in sustainability – even without prompts from the government.

Those without a banged-up bike in the shed will struggle to buy a new one because of the huge demand. For many, the answer may be shared-cycle schemes, electric scooter rentals or even the purchase of an electric vehicle.

Lime is one of the e-mobility firms booming in lockdown. The company expects to have attracted 20,000 new riders to its shared electric bike rental scheme by the time lockdown lifts and plans to offer e-scooters in the UK soon, too.

Alan Clarke, a director of the firm, says the number of new Lime users has grown every week since lockdown restrictions started to be eased and that riders are taking longer journeys than before. The growth comes despite a surge in competition from rivals at Mobike, Freebike and Uber's cycle offering, Jump.

“Ultimately, the biggest reason people don't cycle, walk or e-scoot is because most of the time, city infrastructure doesn't prioritise these modes of transport,” Clarke says. “As governments are now being forced to rethink how they approach urban travel, and organisations like TfL deliver bold and transformative improvements, we do anticipate an influx of new riders over the next few months, as people search out alternative travel options.”

The number of people considering the purchase of an electric vehicle is rising, too; in part because the connection between Covid-19 deaths and air pollution has underlined the importance of clean transport. PwC estimates that government incentives could help the sector support 220,000 jobs.

Ian Johnston, the chief executive of the vehicle-charging firm Engenie, says there has been a huge uplift in the number of retail parks preparing to install charging points. The company fits rapid chargers on behalf of retail landlords and councils at no upfront cost, in exchange for a 50∶50 split on the charge-point revenues.

“Landlords are looking for new streams of revenues and retail tenants need new ways to drive footfall back to their stores,” he says. “The economic pressure on both means people are taking another look at vehicle charging.”

A boom in electric transport holds important implications for Britain's energy system, offering new opportunities for green tech companies. The demand slump during the lockdown combined with record renewable energy generation has helped to provide “a window into the future net zero carbon world”, according to Jennings.

排队的人“多得离谱”,自行车修理初创企业“灰胡桃树自行车行”的老板加文·赫德森说道。在封锁令颁布后,他就开始在伦敦北部一座卫理公会教堂的停车场内修理旧自行车,后来他又将修车行搬进了克劳奇恩德一家停业的酒吧。不过,对自行车修理需求激增意味着,这个突然冒出来的修车行不久就能租得起固定的营业场所了。

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