County business organisations are pushing for this year to see moves towards greater use of sustainable transport such as cycling or walking to work. This effort is particularly focused on Worcester, with the city council and BID on board, but surely applies elsewhere too, with Worcestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership and chamber of commerce both promoting using bicycles for short journeys to, and for, work.
Along with Bike Worcester, these bodies are calling on Worcester employers to help transform the city in 2021, by enabling and encouraging their staff to commute by bicycle. Over 50% of people living there have a commute of less than 3 miles – journeys such as these are eminently suitable for a swap from car to pedal power. As pointed out by the leader of the city council Marc Bayliss “More journeys made by bike in the city will reduce congestion, noise and pollution, which benefits everyone” as well as helping tackle climate change by reducing CO2 emissions.
Dan Brothwell of Bike Worcester said “Employers can support active travel in a number of ways, such as thinking about where bikes and a change of clothes can be stored. Bikes and other equipment can be purchased through the Cycle to Work scheme”, with consequent tax savings. Another way to help staff to choose active travel is to sign up for the SHIFT scheme, where employers pledge a small sum of money for each km (or mile!) cycled. The distances are recorded across the company and at the end of the year the total sum goes to nominated good causes.
Two Worcester companies are already signed up to SHIFT. Hopefully more will follow soon, but there is no reason why organisations in Malvern, for instance, can’t sign up too. Indeed as the Chief Executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Gary Woodman, points out: “It is important that businesses across Worcestershire encourage their staff to pursue sustainable transport such as cycling or walking to work. The SHIFT scheme is a great example of how businesses can use cycling to help contribute to not only a healthier workforce, but to also give back to the local community through donations to fund local good causes.”
Read more in Bike Worcester’s news article or check out the Shift website for how the scheme can work.
E-bikes for Hereford
In unrelated but equally positive news, firms in Hereford are invited to apply to Herefordshire Council for a grant to cover the cost of new electric bikes or electric cargo bikes to be used for business purposes. The council is using £100k of the government’s Towns Fund programme to deliver the Hereford E-bike Grant scheme. Cabinet member for Infrastructure and Transport John Harrington said:
We’re facing a climate and ecological emergency which requires urgent local action. The Hereford e-bike Grant scheme is a great opportunity for Hereford businesses to play their part and introduce sustainable transport to travel between sites and meetings, or to offer delivery services to customers. The use of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes will ultimately have a positive impact on our local environment by improving air quality, alleviating city centre congestion and reducing the county’s carbon emissions.”From council news item.
Apply by Wednesday 27th January – link for more details.
Other bike grants for organisations
A reminder that some of Worcestershire County Council’s Emergency Active Travel Funds have gone towards making the ‘ParkThatBike‘ scheme available across the county. This can provide a variety of cycle racks for free to businesses or community organisations. Installation has to be arranged by the recipient. See our earlier news item.