Posted by:6 September, 2011
Havant BC’s workplace travel plan co-ordinator, Liz Brayfield, pictured, talks about their efforts to reduce the council’s carbon footprint through a series of transport initiatives.
At Havant Borough Council we recognise that climate change is happening and are fully committed to reducing the causes of climate change and adapting to its impacts.
Over recent years we have adopted a number of actions with the support of a dedicated team of internal sustainability champions to drive campaigns. The initiatives we have signed up to include:
- The Nottingham Declaration on climate change;
- The 10:10 campaign tackling carbon emissions, which has successfully reduced energy consumption in our 4 main buildings by 22% in the last year;
- Organising the first ‘Havant Goes Greener’ week, working with Havant Friends of the Earth and Havant Transition Network. This involved borough wide events each evening on how to live a greener lifestyle (from solar power, keeping bees, greening your home and gardening).
We also have a Work Place Travel Plan
This ethos extends to a shift towards partnership working with Hampshire County Council. We have recently begun to offer shared services for our local community via joint working with Hampshire County Council in the newly refurbished Public Service Plaza. This follows a funding award from the Department for Children, Schools & Families Co-Location Fund for the project, which will deliver a more efficient use of office space, reduced running costs and improved sustainability. Once both phases of the refurbishment are completed in 2012, the Public Service Plaza will be able to accommodate the relocation of over 250 social care staff and other front line staff from Hampshire County Council, in addition to the 420 mainly Havant Borough Council employees based in the building
As Workplace Travel Plan co-ordinator I was appointed earlier this year with a key objective to reduce the number of people travelling to the Plaza and other council sites by single occupancy car journeys. Planning consent for the Plaza prohibits the addition of extra car parking so while staff are encouraged to work more flexibly, I am also challenged to reduce single occupant car use to the Plaza by 50% by 2015. There is no easy or immediate solution, especially where people have been used to the convenience and availability of adequate parking spaces in the past.
Big Green Commuter Challenge
To help inspire the cultural shift towards other transport options we ran a travel fair in October 2009 and continued to take part in Portsmouth City Council’s BIG Green Commuter Challenge. In 2010 for the first time we then ran our own dedicated challenge for Havant. The fun event encourages team working to reduce congestion and pollution by cutting the number of miles travelled alone in a car. The idea of the Big Green Commuter Challenge is that people get a taste of an alternative to using their car, and it’s great when many of them are keen to carry on using a greener method of getting to work. 94% of the participants surveyed this year said they would carry on using alternatives to the car in the future.
The challenge is an opportunity for organisations of different sizes to compete against each other while encouraging a healthier environment. Commuting by more fuel efficient sustainable transport, not only has health benefits, it saves workers and businesses money, and reduces the effects of climate change.
Promoting the challenge this year we encouraged a total of 73 staff from five Havant companies to get to work in a more environmentally-friendly way such as walking, cycling or car-sharing. Havant’s efforts during the week meant that more than 555kg of carbon was saved and there was a 5,847-mile reduction in business journeys.
My next steps as the Travel Plan Co-ordinator are to investigate and implement a number of measures to support and encourage alternative travel, each and every day of the year.
The new shower facilities and cycle storage at the Plaza will hopefully encourage more people onto two wheels and we have set up a Bicycle User Group (BUG) which offers encouragement and cycle maintenance to colleagues. We also have a fleet of pool cycles available to use for business and leisure during work hours, and hope to add electric bikes to the pool to maximise journeys by bike.
We will shortly offer journey matching through the localised HantsCarShare website. This will encourage car-sharing and more sustainable mobility by helping colleagues to identify car, walk, cycle and taxi buddies.
Where possible and with the benefit of our close proximity to bus and train links we have negotiated travel discounts with some of our local public transport providers. On top of this we are looking into ways to offer financial support to staff to use public transport and are even looking at the feasibility of a demand responsive staff shuttle.
By these and other promotional campaigns we’re working to ensure that our future in the borough of Havant is greener.
Liz Brayfield, Workplace Travel Plan Co-ordinator, Havant Borough Council
Anyone wanting more information about Havant’s efforts to be a greener council can contact Liz Brayfield, Workplace Travel Plan Co-ordinator, Havant BC at firstname.lastname@example.org
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