Pioneering plans to promote green travel which cut business travel by 95% have won Salford City Council a top award.
The Green Wheels travel plan won the Contribution to Sustainable Transport category at the 2nd Annual North of England Transport Awards.
Introduced two years ago the plan has seen the introduction of Salford’s first eco-friendly car club for council staff and members of the public in a city where up to 55% of people in some areas do not have access to a car.
Councillor John Ferguson, lead member for workforce and industrial relations, said: “When we launched the plan staff were travelling 1.7 million miles a year on business – that’s the equivalent of 40 times round the earth every year. Clearly that was not sustainable or good for the planet.
“We linked up with the Co-wheels car club which provides and maintains a fleet of 39 eco-friendly cars at 13 sites across the city, including eight electric vehicles. These are used by council staff during the day for business travel and are then available for residents to hire during evenings and weekends.
“We have also trialled eight pool bikes for staff who want to cycle to meetings which may become permanent and staff can get pre-paid bus tickets for business travel. We’ve cut business miles travelled by car, saved over £150,000 a year and 478 tonnes of carbon every year.”
Part of the plan also included supporting staff to cycle to work, with the introduction of improved shower and drying facilities, a salary sacrifice scheme to enable staff to buy bikes and encouraging the use of public transport and car sharing.
Councillor Ferguson added: “With more and more cars coming onto the roads in Greater Manchester every year, we all need to think about the way we travel. These ideas could be copied by other organisations whatever business they are in and all help save money, save the planet and ease pressure on our roads.”
Richard Falconer, Co-wheels Managing Director, said: "We are very pleased to be working with Salford City Council and to see the success and on-going expansion of Co-wheels and the Green Wheels travel plan.
“Salford Council is leading the way in embedding sustainable transport as part of its HR and staff travel policy and it is excellent that they have been recognised for this.
“We are pleased to see good uptake from members of the public benefiting from the scheme as well."