Each of us travels to and from work everyday, whether by foot, bicycle, car, bus or train. In addition, it is often necessary for us to travel on Commission business, for example to attend meetings or university open days. It is therefore necessary that we take choice of travel into account when considering how we can best reduce our impact on the environment.
This document sets out the Commission's own travel plan. It is aimed at promoting more sustainable choices and reducing reliance on the car. There are clear benefits in this for the individual, the business performance of the Commission and the wider environment in which we operate. The plan comprises a number of guidelines aimed at encouraging the adoption of environmentally sustainable travel arrangements by all Commissioners and staff, where this is feasible . The plan is intended to complement the Commission's environmental policy document which can be found on the intranet at Office administration /Policy documents /Environmental policy and on the website.
The Scottish Government has its own travel plan, which can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/12/06160535/0. It includes (at paragraph 1.1.3: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/12/06160535/2) the hierarchy of travel choices on which the Commission's travel plan is based - headed by the need to question whether travel is in fact necessary at all if a telephone call, video conference or e-mail could deliver the same outcome.
Travel to and from work
The Commission recognises that the choice of travel method to make the daily journey to and from work is a personal one. Most staff at the Commission already use sustainable methods of transport for their daily commute. However the aim of the plan is to encourage and promote the use of more sustainable travel by providing information on the facilities which are available to support it.
Promoting sustainable travel to and from the office :
- Staff are encouraged to consider walking or cycling to work where this is possible.
- Taking the bus to work is, however, more environmentally friendly and sustainable than using the car. Several bus routes pass near to the Commission, and full timetables can be accessed at www.lothianbuses.com or www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/scotland/sescot/home.
- The approach of your bus can be monitored at www.mybustracker.co.uk simply by typing in the service number, street or postcode. There is therefore no need to wait in the wind/rain/sleet etc for a never-approaching number 42!
- Staff may consider car-sharing with others living nearby if this is both practicable and reasonable (car-sharing may also help to keep fuel costs low).
- Cycle couriers are used, where possible, for local deliveries.
As well as promoting sustainable travel to and from the office, the Commission aims to provide a supportive infrastructure for sustainable travel practices. In this regard, staff should be aware of the following facilities:
- Secure and dry storage for bicycles and other equipment is available on the ground floor (in the south stairwell)
- Shower facilities on the third floor are available for the use of all Commission staff
- Interest-free salary advances for purchasing annual travel tickets are offered to SG staff
- A salary sacrifice scheme for the purchase of cycles and safety equipment is available to eligible staff
Travel within working hours
Travel within working hours will inevitably be necessary from time to time for staff to attend external meetings and open days etc. As a general principle, unnecessary journeys should be avoided where possible. The use of teleconferencing, or videoconferencing facilities at St Andrew's House, should always be considered in order to replace long-distance travel to meetings. Where, however, there is a clear need for travel, the most environmentally efficient method, again taking into account both monetary and time costs, should be adopted.
The following points may be helpful:
- Short journeys within Edinburgh can be made on foot, cycle or bus where this is appropriate. Information on bus routes and timetables is available via www.lothianbuses.com or www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/scotland/sescot/home.
- If several staff members are travelling to the same location, a taxi might often be a cheaper and quicker alternative to a bus.
- Staff travelling to locations outside Edinburgh should aim to use the most environmentally sustainable method of travel available (where appropriate). Travel by train is, for example, preferable to travelling by car or plane.
- Further resources to help you plan your journey include:
If staff are aware of the need to travel by train in advance (for example to a university open day), there may be an opportunity to acquire cheap tickets. Staff should therefore advise the general office of the need to travel as early as possible in order that bookings may be made. The general office should also be notified when taxis are required so that they can be ordered in advance.