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“It is commercial, not ‘save the planet’.”
David English, Restore, Redhill
Event Report: Sustainable Travel, Crawley
Delegates arrived by foot, bike, train and electric car to learn about sustainable travel in Crawley. The event was arranged by the Sustainable Business Network as part of the University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform, a business support programme that is helping develop a local, low-carbon economy in Sussex.
Thérèse Wynn-Davies from Motorline Nissan Crawley who kindly hosted the morning spoke about the latest developments in electric vehicles; Thérèse described how range anxiety is still the biggest barrier to drivers switching to electric. For most drivers it shouldn’t be an issue however, as the latest electric cars can travel up to 124 miles on a single charge and charging points are no longer a scarcity.
The UK has the 3rd best charging infrastructure in the world after the US and China and charge points are now a feature in many supermarkets and shopping centres with both slow and rapid charge options available. View Thérèse’s presentation on-line.
Although the upfront cost of purchasing an electric car is higher than that of a car with a combustion engine, running costs are significantly cheaper. A full charge costs around £2 and electric vehicles are also exempt from congestion charges and even qualify for free parking in some parts of the country.
Nathan Catt from Sustrans spoke about eco driver training and how this can be beneficial to businesses. Having a properly trained fleet can reduce a company’s fuel usage by an average of 15% and can also make drivers safer and happier! View Nathan’s presentation on-line.
Graham Rowe from Electric Bikes Sussex in Brighton brought a selection of the latest models for delegates to test ride. He explained that although more expensive than a ‘legacy bike’, electric bikes have been found to be more inclusive and also encourage riders to undertake longer journeys. The batteries cost around 10p to charge and the electric assistance can be adjusted depending on the needs of the rider. View Graham’s presentation online.
Kay Wagland from Crawley Borough Council discussed travel planning, and how this can help to ease congestion and parking issues in areas such as Crawley. Travel planning aims to reduce the number of single occupant car journeys, and thus encourages car sharing, public transport, cycling and walking. Kay spoke about how use of travel planning can result in less staff absenteeism and also reduced congestion and car parking space needed onsite.
Crawley Borough Council are currently creating a Travel Planning Guide for local business which will be available soon.