Local News

‘So many benefits’: Town businesses are encouraging active travel

today 7

share close

A number of employers are taking steps to help staff choose active travel options and make it easier for them to walk or cycle to work.In a project funded by the Towns Fund, employers including West Norfolk Council, Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the College of West Anglia, and Eastern Multi-Academy Trust are being supported to develop active travel plans.These plans, which are created with expert assistance, help organisations to support and encourage employees to choose more active or environmentally friendly ways to travel to and from workplaces.

Staff at Greenyard in Lynn have been benefiting from an active travel scheme. Picture: West Norfolk Council

Major Lynn-based employer Greenyard has seen increased use of its cycle to work scheme since it developed an active travel plan.HR manager Sharon Young said: “A key priority for us as a business is promoting healthy lifestyles, and delivering sustainability in what we do. “And, crucially, we always want to support our employees. So, when the opportunity came up to develop an active travel plan for Greenyard, we were keen to be involved.“Initially, I was unsure about how much work would be required but it was actually so simple. We started with a quick travel survey to understand how our staff are travelling to work.“This was followed by a postcode analysis undertaken by local providers, Mobilityways. This was really revealing and showed us that amongst those who responded, 80% of our employees could cycle to work but currently weren’t.“This meant that as an employer, we could take action to help our people to make travel choices that are not only healthy but affordable too. “The first thing we did was promote and enhance our cycle to work scheme, doubling the limit we offered for employees from £500 to £1,000, and signing up to the Halfords scheme. We also installed a secure cycle shelter.“The outcome of this has been significant. Having had nobody signed up to the cycle to work scheme previously, people are now enrolling in it – and this is just the beginning. “We will continue to promote our cycle to work scheme, and our car share scheme which we are also extending.“The active travel plan has been a great benefit to our company, and has given us the opportunity to support our people, and work towards our sustainability ambitions.” Active travel plans are just part of the work being carried out to make it easier for people to choose active travel options in Lynn.Other work includes improvements to walking and cycling routes across the town, and the creation of two active travel hubs – at the NarOuse Enterprise Zone and Baker Lane – with facilities that allow people to choose to travel on bike, foot, or bus. A community cycle hub is also set to be based at Lynnsport so that residents can access low-cost hire for bikes and associated equipment and take part in a range of cycle training and activities Cllr Michael de Whalley, the borough council’s cabinet member for climate change and biodiversity said: “We’re carrying out work that is making it easier for people to choose active ways to travel around Lynn, including by supporting organisations to develop their own active travel plans.“It is great to find out about the progress that Greenyard has been making in supporting and encouraging their staff to cycle to work. Where this is not feasible, other sustainable modes such as public transport and car sharing are also being supported.“We know that active travel has so many benefits, including for the environment and for our health. It can also play a part in improving air quality, reducing congestion, and it is a more affordable way to get around.”

Written by:

Rate it