TVAM Carbon Offset 2021

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During the national lockdown and with the various regional tier restrictions that followed, it has given us all a bit more time to reflect on our family priorities and key leisure activities. Our normal European bike tours have not been possible, plus overseas holidays cancelled. One outcome for many of us, has been to place a greater emphasis on the UK for riding and ‘stay at home’ holidays. In particular, the local environment of the Thames Valley plus surrounding counties, where many of us walk, ride and cycle to enjoy the outdoors, gaining some much-needed recreation and exercise. Looking at what we do within TVAM, we essentially ride for pleasure, with skills instruction to aid our enjoyment whilst honing our safe riding skills. Put bluntly, we ride around in big circular routes burning fossil fuel. At this point it’s worth stating, “and long may that personal freedom continue”.

It did however make us consider what we could do to mitigate our own CO2 emissions, aka Carbon Footprint?

Research indicates that a large motorcycle’s CO2 emissions are around 160-200 kg of CO2 per 1,000 miles, whilst a healthy mature tree absorbs around 22 kg of CO2 per year. Putting this into context against TVAM activities, we have ~500 active members on social rides, weekends/trips away, training and track days which on average do 1,200 TVAM specific club miles p.a. giving a club Carbon  Footprint of around 100 tonnes of CO2 per annum. This represents a sizeable forest of trees, almost 5,000 in total, which need ~2 hectares of land (20,000 square meters, equivalent to 5 acres).

This stark fact made us realise the size of the challenge faced, in wanting to fully offset our club CO2 emissions, but nothing worth doing comes easy. We then mused on ‘eating the elephant one bite at a time,’ if we could just plant a tree for every member – each year for the next 5 years. This would make TVAM the first motorcycle club in the UK (in the world?) moving toward becoming a Carbon Neutral Organisation. But what would this cost and how to achieve it?

Buying in bulk (1,000) Oak saplings 2-3 ft in height (60-90cm) have a cost of less than £1 each. It turns out that the English Oak is one of the best species for fixing the maximum amount CO2 in the UK climate.

We have decided to align with an existing Thames Valley Woodland Charity with a similar catchment area to TVAM so that the ‘halo effect’ benefits the local community, helping with our club profile and recruitment; we plant the trees where we live or ride our motorcycles.

We have created a five-year carbon neutrality campaign which will allow members to donate towards the purchase of the trees. If you are an income tax payer, we will collect gift aid on this amount.

Many thanks for your support

Nigel Winstanley carbon-offset@tvam.org