National Park Rangers on Loch Lomond can now be seen but not heard – as they cruise the water on a new fully electric boat. The zero direct emissions vessel is the latest addition to the National Park Authority’s marine fleet and is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
In March this year, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority committed to becoming a net zero organisation by 2030. Unlike the distinctive hum heard from a traditional diesel powered boat, the electric maintenance boat is almost silent as it moves across the loch, creating less disturbance to surrounding wildlife and zero water pollution.
The boat is three times more efficient than a traditional petrol or diesel boat.
Charlotte Wallace, Climate Action Manager at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority said: “Our Mission Zero route-map is bold and ambitious but that is exactly what is needed in the face of the climate crisis we are facing.
“As a National Park Authority, we believe it is important that we demonstrate leadership on climate action and that starts with getting our own house in order. Emissions reduction is our top priority. A fully electric boat is a big step forwards and although the technology isn’t as advanced for electric boats as it is for cars, we can’t wait for things to be perfect before we take action, we need to be willing to trial new technology and learn as we go. The National Park covers 720 square miles, across four local authority areas, so how our staff and visitors travel around the Park is significant when it comes to reducing emissions.”
Custom-built to the National Park Authority’s precise specifications by Liverpool based Water Witch, the vessel’s 12kW motor is powered by four powerful lithium batteries. Rangers can spend six to eight hours out on the loch before the boat needs charging and maintenance and running costs for the boat are expected to be cheaper.
The fully electric boat is just one of dozens of measures being implemented across the National Park as part of the Mission Zero route map, which will also see other emissions reducing technologies used, such as air source heat pumps.
Volunteer Rangers are to start trialing e-bikes and public transport as more sustainable ways of getting about the vast National Park and a similar pilot is planned around visitor transport later this year.
Where possible, fossil fuel powered vehicles will be replaced by electric or hybrid alternatives.
The National Park Authority’s commitment to net zero is an important step towards wider ambitions for the whole National Park to become net zero. In recent years, the area has seen more frequent flooding and landslips, seriously damaging people’s homes, communities and businesses.
From EVA Scotland (a member of GEVA) - June 2021