Sustainable travel funding awarded to Washington businesses

The new electric vehicle charge point at Johnson Controls

More than £27,000 in matched funding has been awarded to businesses in Washington for a range of sustainable travel initiatives, including the installation of electric vehicle charging points and improvements to facilities for employees who cycle to work.

The funding has been awarded by Washington’s Go Smarter to Work team, who are part of the Tyne and Wear wide programme which encourages employees to use sustainable transport - such as walking, cycling, public transport or electric vehicles - to travel to and from the workplace.

The companies which have been awarded the funding are Nissan, HMRC Waterview Park, Unipres (UK) Ltd, Johnson Controls Ltd, BAE Systems and R-Tek Ltd

Diane Hilder from Go Smarter to Work said: “Research has shown that people who have an active commute to work have fewer sick days and are more productive. There are also clear environmental benefits to using sustainable transport, not to mention the benefits to businesses in terms of reduced congestion, business costs and less pressure on parking facilities.”

“Our matched funding programme allows companies to apply for up to £5,000 of funding towards their individual sustainable travel programmes.”

One of the companies to benefit from the funding is HMRC Waterview Park, which is carrying out improvements to its on-site cycle shelters.

Keith Robinson, Business Responsible Manager at HMRC Waterview Park, said: “We have about 40 staff who cycle to work on a daily basis and we hope to encourage others to leave the car at home a couple of days per week and cycle, especially as the weather improves.

“One benefit to the company is less pressure on our car parking facilities but there are also benefits for the staff as well – healthier, happier employees.”

Also making improvements to its facilities for cyclists are Unipres Ltd and R-Tek Ltd, both of which manufacture automotive components.

Neil Prest, HR Senior at Unipres, said: “Thanks to the funding we’ve now created a central, location for our staff to secure their bikes, which segregates them from the main car park making an overall safer environment.  

 “There are a number of cycle routes near the Unipres site, making cycling to work an attractive option. We also plan to make improvements to our shower facilities for staff and hopefully encourage more people to use their bikes.”

Sarah Walker, Senior HR Officer at R-Tek Ltd, said: “We launched a cycle to work scheme last year, enabling staff to buy a bike via their wages, and now we will be re-vamping the shower facilities for all those employees who cycle to work. It all leads to better health at work and means that those who don’t drive don’t have to rely on a lift to get to work.”

Johnson Controls Ltd received funding for the installation of two electric vehicle charging points, allowing employees to use electric vehicles for business travel, reducing carbon emissions.

John Dunbar from Johnson Controls Ltd said: “Johnson Controls manufactures car seats for the Nissan Leaf and want to provide charging points to encourage the use of electric vehicles as part of our sustainable transport initiative. We have also used some of the funding to enhance our existing cycle to work facilities.”

Information on Go Smarter to Work’s support for businesses in Tyne and Wear can be found here.