WHAT I AM CALLED: Richard Mann.


WHAT I DO: I’m one of the trustees of Low Carbon West Oxford, which is a charity working to radically cut the amount of carbon used in West Oxford, to do our bit to reduce climate change. I mostly focus on transport issues, in association with Cyclox , the Oxford Cycle Campaign.

WHERE I LIVE: In West Oxford, just off Botley Road.

WHO I LOVE: Delia, my partner, and our two beautiful children.

HAPPIEST YEAR: 2000, our eldest’s first year. We promised ourselves we wouldn’t let a child stop us from travelling, and we took train trips all over Europe.

DARKEST MOMENT: Being turned down for a place at Oxford was pretty devastating. It was probably my own fault for deciding that I didn’t want to do my “best” subject; economics and politics was far more interesting. But Oxford is a wonderful place to live, so I came here later anyway. I guess that makes me more Town than Gown.

PROUDEST BOAST: I worked for a long time for the railway, and helped set up some of the key internal contracts that were necessary after privatisation. It took a long time for those contracts to bed in, but they led to clearer responsibilities, better management, and trains running more to time than ever before.

BIGGEST REGRET: Too many hours spent commuting. The worst was the winter, when I could go all week without seeing Oxford in daylight.


LESSON LEARNED: Complicated problems can take a long time to fix, but they get fixed when lots of people are all quietly working away, often unaware of each other. The world is a very big place, but there’s nothing we can’t do if we’re working together.

DULLEST JOB: Correcting typos in pages of poetry that a computer had tried to scan in. At least when people make mistakes you can have some empathy with them. Computer errors are just soul-destroying.

GREATEST SHAME: That the world has become so wedded to the car and the dream of country living. There will never be enough space for everyone to drive. If we all try to live in the countryside, there will be none left. Better to live in cities and make them wonderful places.

LIFE-LONG HERO: Anyone who doesn’t drive. They give up a little but give everyone else more space.

WIDEST SMILE: Cycling past the queue of traffic on Botley Road always brings a smile to my face. Quite why people insist on sitting in the queue for 20 minutes always astounds me.

FAVOURITE DREAM: I dream that one day that the roads will be free of traffic, that people will be able to get the bus without getting held up, or cycle where they want without fear.