Local travel champions recognised

North Somerset organisations have picked up awards at the annual Travelwest Business Travel Awards ceremony.

The annual awards recognise organisations and businesses in the West of England (South Gloucestershire, Bristol, North Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset) whose commitment to sustainable travel make them stand out from their industry peers.

Up against tough competition, North Somerset was well represented at the awards.

North Somerset Council received Silver Accreditation for its travel plan, with a mention to its fleet of electric cars which make up nearly half of the council’s vehicles.

Worle Community School Academy was presented with Most Improved (medium-sized) Workplace and the prestigious Sustainable Travel Champion award was won by the school’s Assistant Business Manager, Neill Bird. EAT Festivals received Highly Commended in the Best Motivational Campaign. Other categories included Most Innovative Travel Measure and Long Term Commitment to Sustainable Travel.

At the awards, Worle Community School Academy were praised for implementing 10 sustainable travel initiatives within one academic year, and Eat Weston for their use of social media to promote travelling sustainably to their events. Thanks to Department For Transport funding, both organisations have been working with North Somerset Council’s sustainable travel team to reduce the number of cars on the road.

Led by Neill Bird, Worle Community School have improved their cycle parking, launched a journey sharing platform and provided travel discounts for rail and bus travel in their staff benefit scheme. With funding from North Somerset’s Travel Grants they also trialled electric bikes for staff to share. The trial was so successful that it led to an electric folding bike being purchased for use by schools in the trust. They now plan to add an electric vehicle charging point.

Mr Bird said: “I would recommend other businesses getting involved in the scheme. Because of the support I received from North Somerset Council’s Sustainable Travel and Road Safety Team it was neither difficult or costly to implement the initiatives that have been introduced at Worle community School Academy. I would therefore encourage other businesses to consider doing the same in order to achieve numerous benefits.”

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council’s executive member with responsibility for sustainable travel aded: “Congratulations to all nominees and award winners. It’s great to see companies dedicated to the important work of reducing car journeys and tackling congestion, which result in health and environmental benefits. We are very proud that local businesses have been recognised by these awards, putting North Somerset on the map.”

Hosted in South Gloucestershire at the University of West of England on Thursday 29 November, the awards ceremony will be coming to North Somerset in 2019.

If you are interested in making a difference and becoming a champion for your workplace, contact North Somerset Council’s sustainable travel team at sustainable.travel@n-somerset.gov.uk.