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Utilise Plus Event Report: Sustainable Transport Breakfast, Worthing
Delegates made their way to Worthing Town Hall for the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC’s first breakfast event of 2019 on the theme of ‘sustainable transport.’ This event was held as part of the SBP CIC’s ongoing Utilise Plus programme, which helps small and medium sized enterprises to reduce their costs and Greenhouse Gas emissions by saving energy.
The SBP CIC’s Jack Dale introduced the event by giving an overview of the various services on offer through Utilise Plus, including fully-funded energy audits, grant funding, networking breakfasts and ‘sustainability tours.’ Jack then handed over to the first expert speaker, Ian Skinner of Transport and Environmental Policy Research (TEPR), who discussed how technology can make transport more sustainable. Ian outlined the numerous benefits of electrified and automated transport, which includes fewer air pollutants, lower levels of Greenhouse Gas emissions, quieter roads, and minimal damage to human health. However, there are also challenges that need to be overcome, such as high purchase costs, issues with data protection, and lack of public charging facilities. Ultimately, technology provides the tools for making transport more sustainable but investment in infrastructure is also essential.
Next up was Mark Strong of Transport Initiatives, who focussed on the business value of cycling and walking. Mark explained that people who walk and cycle take more trips to the high street over the course of the month, which can increase retail sales by up to 30%. In addition to economic benefits, cycling and walking also encourages people to enjoy public spaces, socialise with each other, and makes people healthier which means fewer sick days off work. For these reasons, Mark urged organisations to implement travel plans to encourage their staff to walk or cycle to work and explained how to create one.
Our final set of speakers were Francesca Iliffe and Nadeem Shad of Adur & Worthing Councils, who spoke about various council initiatives that aim to make transport more sustainable. Francesca outlined the councils’ Sustainability Framework which highlights transport as a key area, particularly in terms of improving cycling and walking infrastructure, as well as supporting electric vehicle uptake. Francesca also spoke about the easitNETWORK which represents over 200 businesses across 18 networks with the aim of making adopting sustainable transport measures easier. Finally, Nadeem outlined how Air Quality Management Areas are being declared by local authorities to tackle air pollution and encourage sustainable transport. Nadeem explained how various grants and government schemes are making it easier to purchase electric vehicles and reduce air pollution.
After the talks, the event ended with networking over refreshments. Delegates enjoyed the event, with Ian Davey of BTN BikeShare calling it a “great opportunity to learn and discuss very important issues,” while Kirsten Firth of Sussex Community Rail Partnership commented on the “well-targeted presentations,” and Kirsty Starmer of Build@Beach enjoyed the “variety of attendees.”
This event was held in partnership with Adur & Worthing Councils and Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce and was fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). At the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC, we’re always keen to hear from knowledgeable speakers, interesting venues, and enthusiastic event partners. If you’d like to work with us, please get in touch.