A GARDENER who said he was ‘moved to tears’ when he saw children joining the school climate strikes in Oxford has ditched his van in favour of a bike to cut his carbon emissions.

Richard MacKenzie, who lives in Kidlington, has bought a new cargo-bike to travel to his customers in Kidlington and North Oxford.

His aim, he said, was to reduce his travel emissions to zero including greenhouse gases and other toxic pollutants.

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The 39-year-old said he was moved to take the decision after he cried while watching local school pupils marching through the city in September on the latest protest against perceived government inaction to tackle climate change.


School strikers in the centre of Oxford in September.

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

After much research, he settled on an 8Freight bike with cargo-box, the same used by Oxford bike courier company Pedal & Post.

Mr MacKenzie 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.”

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All being well, Mr MacKenzie hopes to save about £3,500 each year by not having a van when purchase, tax, insurance and diesel are taken into account. It also will mean no more garage bills.

Scott Urban, director of local campaigning group Oxfordshire Liveable Streets, praised Mr MacKenzie saying he had not only helped the environment, but also 'future-proofed himself for the changes to Oxford transport coming in the next couple of years.

Among those changes are the zero-emission zone which Oxford City Council is planning to introduce in the city centre, banning petrol and diesel vehicles, from next year.


Pupils at New Marston Primary School demonstrating about climate.

Mr Urban added: “By using a bike, Richard will also 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."

Mr MacKenzie set up his organic gardening business in 2015.

Initially based in Witney, he moved the business to Kidlington in 2017 when he and his young family moved aboard their narrowboat.