Campaign calls on employers to champion cycling for staff

Mar 13, 2021

EMPLOYEES are being encouraged to cycle to work in a new campaign by Milton Keynes Council. 

The Ride it, Lock it, Love it campaign, run in partnership with sustainable transport firm PWLC Projects, and bike park suppliers Turvec, provides safer and more secure bike storage and is offering free bicycle parking stands to businesses in the borough. 

The council has earmarked £45,000 from its Transport Policy budget for the project and is urging businesses to apply to help them to reduce emissions and boost their green credentials.

Cllr Jenny Wilson-Marklew, cabinet member for climate action and sustainability, said: “We want all businesses who can, to provide safe cycle parking for both their staff and visitors. If we really want to change people’s behaviour and get them to cycle to work, we need to work with businesses to make it easy and safe to do so.” 

She called on employers to contact PWLC to carry out a staff travel survey, site audit and for an application form for the free bicycle stands. 

PWLC Projects partner Steve Wong said: “It is really important to us that we engage meaningfully with businesses to register with us onto Modeshift Stars for Business and put together a Workplace Travel Plan that will help them encourage staff to adopt sustainable transport options such as cycling.”

“The Ride it, Lock it, Love it campaign is a great way for businesses to take the worry out of bike ownership and set them on the path toward safe, secure bicycle parking.” 

As part of Milton Keynes Council’s £500,000 Green Recovery Fund for Sustainable Transport Initiative, businesses could also qualify for a grant of up to £1,000 to spend on measures at the workplace that encourage staff to use more sustainable modes of transport. 

This could include providing covered parking, public bike pumps, repair stations or charging points for e-bikes. 

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at the cycling charity Cycling UK, has welcomed the initiative. “We have seen a huge resurgence in the number of people cycling during the pandemic, in part because they are looking to avoid public transport as they commute to work. 

“That is why it is really important we support people to feel able to cycle, whether that is by providing more cycle parking or installing more cycle lanes so they feel safer travelling by bike.”

Providing cycle parking for businesses is just one of the council’s initiatives to support both sustainable transport and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The schemes include Bikeability cycle training courses and the council loans eCargo bikes to businesses to support clean, green, healthier transportation, offers opportunities for residents to try out e-bikes and provides access to free bikes for low income or unemployed Milton Keynes residents.   

Mr Dollimore said: “Not only is cycling great for our health and mental well-being but enabling more people to cycle is a crucial step towards improving air quality and reducing road traffic congestion in our towns and cities.”

For more information on the cycle parking funding, or to apply, visit www.getsmartertravelmk.org/work/cycling-parking

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Pedal power to support sustainable ambitions for Saxon Court

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DEVELOPERS are planning to include a cycle hub in their vision for the future of an iconic Milton Keynes city centre building as they gear up for a second round of consultation. 

The plans for Saxon Court, the former council building acquired in October last year by mixed-use developers First Base and investors Patron Capital, will look to include a cycle tcentre, housing a café, bicycle workshop, bar and exhibition space.

The idea is based on a concept made popular by Look Mum, No Hands!, a similar venture in London. 

Saxon Court will also have a selection of e-bikes and e-scooters, opening up cycling and e-travel to a wider audience and adding further weight to First Base’s plans to align with the sustainable living strategy for Milton Keynes. 

John Ritchie, chair of Team MK Cycling, said: “As one of the UK’s most cycle-friendly places, a cycle hub is something Central Milton Keynes is definitely missing. The proposed Saxon Court hub would create a much-needed facility giving cyclists a practical and social focal point.”

First Base aims to integrate the transformed Saxon Court into Milton Keynes’ current and future sustainable transport links and support the strategy for 2050 to create a near carbon zero city with a focus on emission-free travel.

The Saxon Court plans aim to create more than 2,000 new jobs and opportunities for local, independent food, drink, leisure and retail businesses. Residential buildings will innovate urban living and provide around 287 apartments for rent.

Phase one of the public consultation on the plans took place at the end of last year. More than 1,500 residents gave their feedback with an overwhelmingly positive response to the proposals.

The second phase of the consultation process is due to take place later this month.

For further information and to have your say, visit saxoncourtmk.com.

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