Sustrans News

  • Queen's University Belfast gets First Cycle-friendly Employer Award
    by Sustrans on 20th November 2018 at 5:30 AM

    19 November 2018, Queen’s University Belfast is celebrating international recognition, as the first organisation to achieve GOLD standard in a new Cycle Friendly Employer accreditation, which rewards companies in the UK who make their workplaces awe-inspiring through cycling. The Cycle Friendly Employer accreditation (CFE-UK) was developed within the EU project ‘Bike2Work’, with Cycling UK the recognised provider for the UK. CFE-UK is the only international standard for workplace cycling, working in partnership with countries across Europe. Site auditing and advisory work is also provided by Sustrans for organisations in Northern Ireland. Recognised for their success at a Bronze, Silver or Gold standard, organisations must meet a range of measures to demonstrate their cycle-friendliness, including communications, training and incentives for staff as well as physical facilities such as secure cycle parking, showers and changing rooms. “ It is appropriate that a prestigious seat of learning like Queen’s University Belfast should be the first recipient and has set the bar high for other employers to aspire to. ” - Gordon Clarke, Sustrans Queen’s University demonstrated a very active commitment to improving conditions for cycling, across all sites within the University. As a large employer and one of Belfast’s largest journey generators, Queen’s clearly recognises its contribution to protecting and enhancing its surroundings and wider city environment, as cycling can reduce congestion and improve air quality. Wendy Galbraith, Interim Registrar and Chief Operating Officer of Queen’s University said: “I am very pleased that Queen’s University Belfast is the first organisation to be awarded a GOLD standard in Cycling UK’s Cycle Friendly Employer accreditation. The University has put significant efforts into creating a more cycle-friendly environment for our staff and students over the past number of years and we are delighted to have been recognised in this way.” Matt Mallinder, Director of Influence and Engagement for Cycling UK, said: “We are delighted to officially accredit Queen’s University as a Gold standard Cycle Friendly Employer. We’ve been very impressed with the University’s facilities and the cycle-friendly culture that has been created, as well as their ongoing commitment to improve their surroundings, increase sustainable travel throughout the organisation and make the University cycle-friendly for all staff and students.” Gordon Clarke, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director said: “Northern Ireland has piloted this Cycle Friendly Employer scheme which we hope will become a much sought-after accolade for all workplaces throughout the UK. It is appropriate that a prestigious seat of learning like Queen’s University Belfast should be the first recipient and has set the bar high for other employers to aspire to.” Benefits of cycle commuting Commuting by bike has many proven benefits for both employees and their employers. Cycling as a form of exercise is excellent for improving fitness, lowering blood pressure and reducing stress; studies have also shown that physical activity can reduce staff absenteeism. Organisations that make commuting by bike easier for their staff are more likely to attract and retain the best talent, plus reduce costs as bicycle parking is much more cost effective to provide than car park spaces. Cycle Friendly Employer accreditation is a simple process for companies. The higher the cycle-friendly standards met, the higher level a company can achieve from the range of Bronze, Silver or Gold.  Sustrans is also promoting the scheme as part of a €4.4m EU-funded project, working with European partners, to reduce car traffic and promote sustainable transport, such as cycling in east Belfast. The project, mainly funded through Inter-reg North West Europe and local partners, can support employers who wish to implement cycle-friendly facilities. Find out more about the Cycle-friendly Employer Accreditation Scheme Find out more about our work in workplaces&nbs […]

  • Overhaul planned for London's National Cycle Network
    by Sustrans on 20th November 2018 at 5:30 AM

    19 November 2018, , , On Friday 16 November, Sustrans founder John Grimshaw joined Kelly Clark, our Head of Infrastructure Delivery in London, Sustrans staff and partners from across the capital to launch London's plans to overhaul the National Cycle Network.  The London launch formed part of our exciting nationwide shared vision for the National Cycle Network: to create ‘A UK-wide network of traffic-free paths for everyone, connecting cities, towns and countryside and loved by the communities they serve.’  Everyone should have the option to walk or cycle The 16,575 mile Network is an incredible national asset and is as important to London as anywhere else, with 163 miles of the Network in the capital alone. Our first ever review of the Network, ‘Paths for Everyone’ has shown that while parts of it are of good quality in London, this isn’t universal.   Our ambition is that the Network in London will be a place that welcomes everyone to experience the joy of walking and cycling and inspires them to share it on local adventures with others. It should be a place where people can discover they have the option to walk and cycle for their everyday local journeys, rather than being dependent on the private motor vehicle. Our London action plan shows that there's exciting work ahead to achieve our vision in London. And we want to hear from you about where you think the Network needs improving, so we've made it easy for everyone to help shape our plans: please share your comments on where the network needs improvement. A place for people to start using London's growing walking and cycling network In London, our work isn’t going to be about creating a comprehensive, dense network of routes across the whole city – the Mayor’s Transport Strategy is already planning and delivering this. Instead, our Network will complement this by providing places where people can build the confidence to start using London’s growing cycling network. It will show off some of the best places in the city – both local gems and those recognised internationally. It will link to the Network outside London and as a UK-wide asset, it will be recognised throughout the UK. We've already seen that ambitious National Cycle Network improvements work in London. The recent opening of the "missing link" on the Thames Path in Greenwich, funded as part of the Quietways program, has enabled local people to walk and cycle away from busy roads. The path is part of our long distance Route1 from Dover to the Shetland Islands.  Safety improvements top priority Of our 163 miles of Network within the Greater London boundary, 66 miles (41%) is on-road and 97 miles (59%) is on traffic-free paths. In a growing city of over 8 million people, it is unlikely our share of the Network will ever be 100% traffic-free. So it is vital that we undertake work to make it safer and easy for everyone to enjoy. We know a range of measures are needed, like neighbourhood-wide projects to reduce through traffic and speeds in residential streets, protected cycle lanes and protected junctions on busy roads, safer crossings for cyclists and pedestrians, new bridges or structures, better signage and new and improved paths in green spaces. You can find out more information in our National Cycle Network review action plan for London. “ Improving safety on the Network so that everyone can use it is our top priority here in London. ” - Kelly Clark, Sustrans Head of Infrastructure Delivery in London   Working together is key to success We’re keen to work with all our partners on our Network Development Plan, which will identify where changes and projects are needed to deliver the vision. We’ll be working with Boroughs, managing authorities and Transport for London, and will also include developers, charitable and private landowners and other local stakeholders where relevant. We’ll also call on the extensive local knowledge of our volunteers, and valuable input from users will help shape our action plans. We can’t do this on our own. Delivering this vision will require many projects, some tiny, some huge, all essential. We hope our report inspires you to help us ensure a bright, exciting future for the Network in London and join with all our valued stakeholders, supporters, volunteers and community friends to turn this vision into reality. Kelly Clark, Sustrans Head of Infrastructure Delivery in London, said: “Improving safety on the Network so that everyone can use it is our top priority here in London.  “We want the National Cycle Network in London to be a place where everyone can discover the joy of walking and cycling with their friends and family. Starting out on high quality and quiet routes through interesting, iconic or beautiful places can help people to build enthusiasm and confidence to walk for more their everyday local journeys. “Politicians and policy-makers know that building walking and cycling into our daily routines are the clear winners when it comes to tackling the health and air quality issues which not only damage Londoner’s lives, but cost billions every year.” On the whole, 2 miles of the network in London were deemed very good, 108 good, 7 poor and 46 very poor.  Please share your views on where you think the National Cycle Network needs to be improved by adding comments our National Cycle Network interactive tool. &nbs […]

  • Sustrans response to Lancet's findings on London's low emission zone air quality impact
    by Sustrans on 20th November 2018 at 5:30 AM

    15 November 2018Reacting to the Lancet Public Health report on London’s Low Emission Zone, Andy Cope, Director of Insight at Sustrans, said: “Low Emission Zones are an important tool to protect people from air pollution caused by vehicles. However, this new research shows that they are not the only solution to protecting children from poor air quality. “On a day when Public Health England has also released a report highlighting the detrimental impact of air pollution on health, we need to do more to enable a greater number of people to walk and cycle for everyday journeys. The report reveals a staggering 41% of trips to school for children aged five to ten are by car. "Therefore, even if we can reduce exhaust emissions, this does nothing to diminish the estimated 45% of particulate matter (PM10) in London that comes from brake and tyre wear, of which the World Health Organisation says there is no safe level of exposure. “Walking or cycling to school is something everyone should have the choice to do, but too many children are stuck in the back seats of cars. "We advocate road closures around schools at drop-off and pick-up times to avoid the chaotic road safety problems of vehicles jostling for space. This, combined with dedicated cycling infrastructure has been proven to reduce air pollution in proximity to schools and increase active travel.” For more information and interviews contact: Anna Galandzij, Senior Press Officer at Sustrans, 07557 915 648, anna.galandzij@sustrans.org.uk Liv Denne, Press and Media Officer at Sustrans, 07768 035318, liv.denne@sustrans.org.uk […]

  • Sustrans budget focus: Investing in active travel part 1: Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn
    by Sustrans on 20th November 2018 at 5:30 AM

    13 November 2018, , , Over the next few weeks, parliamentarians in Westminster and Cardiff Bay will be scrutinising the UK and Welsh Government budgets. This budget round represents a closing chapter. This is the last UK budget of this round of the Comprehensive Spending Review, and the final year of Welsh Labour’s two-year budget deal with Plaid Cymru in the Assembly. This time next year, the UK will have likely left the European Union, and in Wales, a new First Minister will be preparing for their first budget with an eye to the forthcoming 2021 elections. Throughout November 2018, Sustrans Cymru Budget series will be delving into the detail from an active travel perspective. We’ll be looking at the pressures facing local authorities in both urban and rural Wales, and we’ll be assessing the different needs of different generations. We will also be outlining how future transport funding should be restructured if the Welsh Government is to meet its ambitions under the Active Travel Act. Kicking off today with Part 1, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, highlights the investment needed to make active travel an option in a rural authority. Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council “Even in predominantly rural areas such as Ceredigion, walking, cycling, car sharing and public transport can, and do, provide beneficial alternatives to the car, or the second and third car, which has a positive impact on a number of fronts that can include increasing disposable household incomes. "A number of factors including increased health awareness and cycling successes at a local and national level have no doubt inspired and influenced the uptake in both leisure and competitive cycling in Ceredigion. Ceredigion is ideally placed and is developing as a host venue for various major cycling events by making use of its attractive natural assets which are ideal for on and off-road cycling. These provide opportunities for local residents and visitors alike to participate and watch high-quality cycling in a variety of disciplines. "Ceredigion Council are dedicated to achieving a greater modal shift from the car to the bike for utility journeys, but this will not be possible without further capital investment and improvement, alongside increased revenue funding. This is what is required to create the infrastructure which enables people to leave their car at home. People need safer routes and facilities including storage and showers at key journey generators in the county. "Further work and ongoing investment is also required in coordinating and promoting the various benefits of cycling as a viable alternative to the car on a regular, occasional, ad hoc if not permanent basis. This would lead to the bike becoming, and being seen as, a realistic, safe and attractive year-round alternative to the car for short to medium distance everyday journeys including those for commuting, work, learning, shopping and socialising. Further promotion and ongoing investment in public transport infrastructure, services and facilities will ensure that there is a choice of attractive all year round alternatives to the car”. Don't miss the next in the three-part series:  Sustrans budget focus: Investing in active travel part 2: An active Metro, Cllr Caro Wild, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning & Transport Sustrans budget focus: Investing in active travel part 3: Steve Brooks, National Director Sustrans Cymru &nbs […]

  • Lower speed limits needed on rural roads to increase quality of Scottish National Cycle Network routes
    by Sustrans on 20th November 2018 at 5:30 AM

    12 November 2018We are calling for lower the speed limits on some rural roads in Scotland to 40mph, to increase the quality and safety of National Cycle Network routes across the country.  This call comes as we release the findings from our first ever UK-wide audit of the National Cycle Network, which provides a snapshot of the condition of the network across the UK and details a list of recommendations on how routes can be improved and managed in the future.    The Paths for Everyone report and accompanying action plan for Scotland finds that 57% of Network route in Scotland has been rated as Very Poor, with a further 2% as Poor.    All of the routes classified as Very Poor are on-road, and more than half (56%) of the issues on the Network in Scotland can be related to concerns around traffic safety.    The review makes 15 recommendations to improve the Network, including one where routes are on-road, that the speed limit is reduced to 20mph in urban areas and 40mph in rural areas.   Speaking about the findings, Sustrans Scotland National Director John Lauder said:  “Scotland’s unique geography means that a large proportion of National Cycle Network routes here are based on rural roads.    “And whilst it is heartening to see that the majority of our off-road routes are Good or Very Good, which reflects the investment by the Scottish Government, in particular over the past five years, and the commitment by our partners, we still face a big challenge where National Cycle Network routes are on public roads.   “Reducing the speed limit to 40mph on on-road sections of the National Cycle Network as part of a range of complementary measures will help make these popular walking and cycling routes safer, better and more reliable for all users.    “Scottish government investment of £6.9million in the National Cycle Network has allowed us to upgrade and develop a number of key sections of route, including some of which have been identified as priorities within this report. However, there is still more which needs to be done.    “Our review of the Network has given us a clear insight into what improvements need to be made and we are optimistic that between our plan and Scottish government’s ambition, we have the direction and support to create a Network in Scotland that works for everyone.”    Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said:  “This is a timely review of the National Cycle Network. The success of the Network is critical in encouraging both walking and cycling trips for everyday journeys and especially shorter journeys.    “Having the right accessible infrastructure in the right place, which is well maintained and well promoted, is key to achieving our shared active travel ambitions and building an Active Nation –  where more people can enjoy the benefits of walking and cycling than ever before.    “Doubling the active travel budget has allowed the Scottish Government to also double our investment in the NCN to £6.9m this year. I am confident that this funding, alongside this review, will contribute towards allowing this inclusive network to flourish for future generations, so that people right across Scotland can continue to enjoy walking and cycling at all ages.”   Carried out by a team of independent surveyors, Sustrans’ analysis of the Network across the UK rated all sections of route as Very Good, Good, Poor or Very Poor. In order to compare different sections of route, Sustrans developed four main criteria against which everything was scored. These included, flow (including path width, pinch points and barriers), surface quality, signage and traffic-related safety.   All routes that were on-road were weighted to have a lower score to reflect Sustrans’ ambition for a traffic-free network by 2040.    Scotland has a total of 2,657 miles of National Cycle Network routes stretching from the Borders to the Shetland Islands. Of this, a total of 1,523 miles of Network route in Scotland (57%) has been rated as Very Poor, with a further 45 miles (2%) as Poor. Only 52 miles (2%) of route is of Very Good standard and a further 1,036 miles (39%) has been classified as Good.     Whilst only 29% of the Network in Scotland is traffic-free, 95% of these sections of route were classified as Good or Very Good. Meanwhile, all of the routes which were classified as Very Poor in Scotland are on-road, and more than half (56%) of the issues on the Network in Scotland can be related to concerns around traffic safety.    In comparison, the condition for all 16,575 miles of network across the UK found that 1% of routes were Very Good, 53% Good, 4% Poor and 42% Very Poor. 92% of traffic-free routes across the UK are Very Good or Good, whilst 62% of on-road routes are classified as Very Poor.   As part of the Paths for Everyone report, Sustrans has published an physical review and action plan for Scotland outlining six activation projects, which will be delivered by 2023, to help improve and develop the Network in Scotland.    The projects include the re-routing of three on-road sections of route to alternative traffic-free paths, making accessibility improvements to existing traffic-free routes, the resurfacing and signage of a traffic-free path and the creation of a new section of Network, which will link National Route 765 to National Route 7.  Read the 'Paths for everyone' report […]