THE Vale of Glamorgan Council hosted the launch of a Staff Healthy Travel Charter signed by eight leading public sector organisations from across the County.
At the Civic Offices, the Council, along with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff Airport, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, South Wales Police, HM Prison and Probation Services, Welsh Government and Welsh Ambulance NHS Trust agreed to help staff and visitors travel to their sites in a sustainable way.
Through 14 ambitious actions, the charter promotes walking, cycling, public transport and ultra-low emission vehicle use.
The actions include establishing a network of sustainable travel champions within each organisation, developing targeted communications campaigns for staff, offering and promoting the cycle to work scheme and increasing the availability of video-conferencing for meetings to reduce the number of journeys staff need to make.
Between them, the organisations will commit to reducing the proportion of journeys commuting to and from work made by car and increase the proportion of vehicles used during the day which are plug-in hybrid or pure electric.
By working together, the organisations aim to increase the proportion of journeys made to and from workplaces which are sustainable.
The public sector in the Vale employs over one in four working adults, over 15,000 people, so this commitment can have a significant positive impact on the environment as well as associated health benefits.
The launching of this charter comes after the Council joined others in declaring a climate emergency in July following the findings of the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change.
Cllr Neil Moore, Leader of Vale of Glamorgan Council and Chair of the Vale of Glamorgan Public Services Board said: “As a Council, we are committed to tackling environmental issues and promoting greener, more sustainable lifestyle choices. To this end, we are delighted to sign up to this charter, which makes active, sustainable travel easier.
“With evidence of climate change becoming increasingly compelling, all of us need to do more to protect our planet and it’s important we do our bit as a Local Authority. Recently, we installed a number of water fountains in parks and distributed reusable water bottles in an effort to cut down on single-use plastics. We have also teamed up with Barry Action for Nature and the Woodland Trust for a project that involves planting 200 saplings and 12 three-foot fruit trees on land near Colcot Primary School.”
Mark Bailey, Director of Airport Planning and Development said 'Providing sustainable and healthy travel options for our team is a key part of our vision of becoming a carbon neutral airport, as well as benefitting our team’s mental and physical wellbeing. As our passenger numbers continue to increase, we are focussed on playing our part in responding to climate change through initiatives such as the Healthy Travel Charter, as well as introducing more electric vehicle charge points and sourcing 100% of our energy from renewable and clean energy sources.’
Fiona Kinghorn, Executive Director of Public Health for Cardiff and Vale UHB, said “Increasing the number of journeys made on foot, by bike and by public transport, is vital to improving the physical and mental health and well-being of our citizens, and reducing our impact on the environment. The Health Board fully supports the Charter and has recently introduced a Park and Ride service for University Hospital Llandough, and has a number of initiatives to support staff who choose to cycle.”