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“It is commercial, not ‘save the planet’.”
David English, Restore, Redhill

Event Report: Sustainable Travel Event

50 delegates converged on Martlets Hall by train, bus, bike and electric car to learn more about sustainable travel. The event was organised by the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC and supported by Mid-Sussex District Council, Haywards Heath & District Business Association and Burgess Hill Business Parks Association.

Councillor Gary Marsh, MSDC Cabinet Member for Service Delivery opened the event with a message about the council’s vision for sustainable travel:

“Burgess Hill is set for an exciting regeneration over the next 15 years, including new homes, employment opportunities, big name shops and restaurants. Sustainable transport measures will be vital to the successful integration of these improvements and we were delighted to have the opportunity to talk to the local business community about creating a sustainable future for Burgess Hill”.

Following this Rachel Ryan-Crisp, Programme Manager for the Burgess Hill Growth Area, Mid Sussex District Council spoke about Burgess Hill Growth Plan – one of the biggest programmes in the South East which has Government attention and support. The Growth Plan includes a £14.9 million funding package for transport and infrastructure improvements in Burgess Hill. The plans focus on: delivering a modal shift to reduce level of vehicles; creating good connections between housing and jobs; and enabling efficient traffic movement to and around Burgess Hill.  A wide range of projects will be assessed, including station access improvements; enhanced cycle-routes; more accessible pedestrian routes; and improvements to bus-services. However, Rachel warned delegates that the funding package would not cover all possible improvements so there would have to be prioritisation. She urged interested parties to get in touch her at rachel.crisp@midsussex.gov.uk to endorse those projects they consider to be the best. Rachel explained that delivering sustainable transport infrastructure is critical to allow the benefits of the significant growth planned across the town. You can download the full presentation here.

Peter Lamb, Senior Manager, Scientific Pump Technology at Edwards Vacuum (Atlas CopCo)discussed the range of initiatives implemented at their Global Technology Centre (GTC) to encourage sustainable travel. These initiatives range from 8 free electric car charging points which are used by 9 cars on a daily basis to 6 video conferencing suits GTC including one with a 3D camera to record and mirror largescale project boards in the UK and Korea. Peter highlighted the improved cycle facilities on site, with undercover cycle racks, shower rooms, and clothes-drying cabinets, however he cautioned that employees’ road safety concerns limited the number of people choosing to cycle to work. Engaging employees in identifying sustainable travel solutions has been key to their success. Edwards Vacuum are now considering further incentives for car-sharing and bike use, and continuing with technology investigation for virtual meetings and remote location working. You can download the full presentation here.

The event continued with a panel Q&A session for which the three speakers were joined by Norman Baker, The Big Lemon’s Managing Director for Brighton and Hove.

Cycling routes was major talking point with delegates and the panel discussing the how to encourage people to see cycling as a viable and safe option for commuting and business journeys. Representatives from Cycleshack in Lewes encouraged other delegates to consider how electric bikes can enable a wider range of people to make journeys by bike.

Reduced traffic congestion school holiday was acknowledged, prompting discussion around why school and work start times are not staggered, as well as whether more investigation can be done into what motivates people to choose to travel by car as opposed to more sustainable modes.

Cllr. Marsh highlighted that Mid-Sussex District Council can provide local businesses with grants for sustainable transport projects such as installing cycle racks, building shower facilities, or setting up dedicated bus services for business park employees. To find out more about the grants available visit the Council’s website.

The event concluded with an exhibition and networking session enabling delegates to learn more about sustainable travel products and services available in the local area. Cycleshack brought a range of beautiful electric bikes and the delegates enjoyed test riding them outside the venue. Barnard and Brough also brought along one of their top range 100% Nissan electric car. Sam Beales from Barnard and Brough explained that the cars have zero emissions, low running costs and a range of up to 155 miles. Delegates were impressed to hear that batteries from brand new vehicles are guaranteed for 8 years and can be reused after removal from vehicles.

The exhibition also included event partners Haywards Heath & District Business Association and Burgess Hill Business Parks Association, Co-Wheels Car Club, West Sussex County Council Travelwise scheme, Metrobus, Railfuture, and the Green Circle Network.

If you would like to attend or find out more about our upcoming events please do get in touch via email info@sustainablebusiness.org.uk or call us on 01273 964239.

Join the Sustainable Business Network to be the first to hear about our forthcoming events.

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