Applications are now open for Portsmouth City Council’s sustainable travel grant, which gives local companies and organisations a fantastic opportunity to reduce their contribution to air pollution in the city and reduce their carbon footprint, while supporting healthier travel options for employees.
Last year the council’s fund supported 18 businesses, large and small, to reach their green potential, enabling staff to reduce vehicle use for short trips around the city by choosing walking and cycling.
Last year, Southsea Cycles used money awarded through the Workplace Sustainable Travel Fund to purchase two e-cargo bikes. The company has been using the cargo bikes instead of the company van for deliveries, pick-ups and bike repairs since April and they are already a big hit with staff and customers.
Southsea Cycles Director, Liam Marsh, said “Our electric cargos bought with funding from the Workplace Sustainable Fund have changed the way our business operates. Our annual mileage has dropped by 3000 miles this year as all small deliveries are done by cargos!”
Applicants can choose from a range of items and equipment to make sustainable travel a smarter choice for local journeys. This could include cycle storage, hi-vis clothing, staff lockers for storing trainers and raincoats, cycle repair stations or cargo bikes, up to the value of £4,000. Businesses are encouraged to match fund.
The fund enables a more environmentally-friendly, workplace travel culture which provides numerous benefits for the employer, employees and the city and helps to develop cleaner air and reduce traffic on congested city roads.
As well as the obvious benefits to air quality, the funding gives business owners the chance to improve their employees’ mental and physical wellbeing through increased exercise, which can also reduce the number of sickness days they are absent from work.
Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said “Our commitment towards developing cleaner air for the city remains a top priority so I welcome the return of the Workplace Sustainable Travel Fund this year.
“This opportunity will enable businesses to make a positive contribution towards traffic congestion, help to develop cleaner air and provide increased opportunities for improved staff wellbeing.”
Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, with up to 36,000 deaths a year attributed to long-term exposure*. The continuing use of motor vehicles, in Portsmouth and many other cities around the country, contributes to over 50% of air pollution, creating a serious air quality problem for our city.
The council is tackling the growing air quality issues head-on through its Local Transport Plan 4 and Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan. A variety of measures, including The Workplace Sustainable Travel Fund, will support individuals, transport operators and businesses to help develop cleaner air and improve the health of people who live, visit, work and study in the city.
Businesses can apply for the funding between 8 October and 19 November. Installation must be completed in March 2022. To discover more about the scheme and apply, visit www.travel.portsmouth.gov.uk/wstf
*Source Public Health England