27 April 2012
The Cycle Exeter project, run by Devon County Council, has beaten off competition from over 120 sustainable travel projects across the UK, France and Belgium to be selected as one of six finalists for the inaugural Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel. Each of the finalists were recognised for the outstanding quality of their local sustainable travel initiatives and now stand to win a share of £30,000 in prize money, when the ultimate winner is announced on 30 May.
Cycle Exeter has paved the way for Exeter to become a true cycling city. With nearly 50km of new and improved cycle lanes built since 2005, youngsters are being inspired to get on their bikes and employees are encouraged to cycle to work. In addition, the programme has helped increase cycling trips across the city by 40% since 2005, and provided more than 10,000 youngsters with Bikeability training.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “It’s an incredible achievement to have made the shortlist for this prestigious new award. Everyone who has taken up cycling more often around Exeter, whether it’s to travel to school or work or in their leisure time, has played a vital part in the success of the Cycle Exeter project and they should take great pride in that. To have been selected as a finalist, and for Carsharedevon.com to be highlighted as a case study by one of the other finalists, demonstrates that the County Council has been recognised as a leader in sustainable travel not just in the UK but in Europe as well.”
Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar Chief Executive, says: “Launching this Award in partnership with sustainability experts, Ashden has allowed us to showcase some of the most ground-breaking sustainable travel projects in the UK, France and Belgium. Devon County Council’s tireless efforts to create a cycling culture in Exeter from scratch should be inspiration to other towns and cities across Europe. By celebrating their achievement and successes we hope to inspire even more people to travel sustainably and consider the environment when making their own travel choices.”
The 2012 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel culminates on 30 May at the annual Ashden Awards ceremony in London, where the achievements of all the finalists will be celebrated and the winners will be announced.
The Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel forms part of Eurostar’s Tread Lightly programme to reduce its impact on the environment and encourage people to switch to more sustainable modes of transport. Since 2007, Eurostar has made substantial progress towards reducing carbon emissions, sourcing responsibly and recycling.
Eurostar has also pledged to reduce carbon emissions across its entire business by 25% by 2015. This ambitious new target will see Eurostar scrutinise every area of its operations including its supply chain and other areas outside its immediate business making changes where necessary.
For more information about the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel or Eurostar’s Tread Lightly programme, visit www.eurostar.com/treadlightly
The five other finalists in the running to win the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel are:
• Cycle Cambridge (Cambridgeshire County Council) was recognised for its new holistic approach to cycle prioritisation, combining large extensions to the cycling network with innovative promotional activities. These initiatives have helped reinforce Cambridge’s position as the city with the highest percentage mode share of cycling in the UK.
• Norwich-based Liftshare.com was selected for its work to fill empty car seats on the roads while offering a friendlier, greener and cheaper way to travel. A number of initiatives, including a national online car-sharing network, have helped the company remove 78,000 journeys from the road every day.
• The City of Ghent’s far-reaching mobility plan was designed to get more people cycling. This included the creation of a car-free city centre, extensive development of the cycling network and investment in creative marketing support. As a result, one in five of all journeys to work or school in Ghent is now made on two wheels.
• Octopus Plan stood out for its programme to promote walking and cycling to schools in Belgium through a combination of online resources and community engagement. This has helped schools, their staff and parents as well as local authorities to identify and remove potential barriers to sustainable travel. Since 2006 over half of all Flemish schools have joined the Octopus Plan.
• Brittany-based Taxi Tub offers a virtual network of pre-bookable taxis in rural Brittany, helping reduce CO2 emissions, ease traffic congestion and save users money. Fully integrated into the bus network, this innovative scheme makes use of existing vehicles to expand mobility options and enable rural car sharing, where an equivalent scheduled bus service would be prohibitively expensive to run.