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Active travel and air quality in the workplace

Poor air quality affects people’s health and damages the environment. 

Exposure to air pollution can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, asthma, lung cancer, and it can also reduce life expectancy. In 2015, air pollution was responsible for over 500 deaths in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent.

Locally, there are two main pollutants causing concern: nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. Road traffic is the main source of these pollutants.

By offering different active travel options in your workplace, you can help to reduce traffic, improve air quality and improve your staff’s health and wellbeing. It can also reduce your car parking requirement and lower your businesses carbon footprint.

Active travel can include:

  • Cycling
  • Walking
  • Public transport
  • Car sharing
  • Electric vehicles

Cost of air pollution to businesses

In 2012, Defra estimated that poor air quality costs the economy £2.7 billion. This is due to air pollution impacting on sickness absence rates, and therefore productivity.

You can check the air quality around your business, by taking a look at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair’s interactive map and inputting your post code.

Support in Staffordshire – The ‘INTO Air Quality Project’

If your business is located in or around an air quality management area, we can offer a range of free services, to support you to promote active travel options in your workplace. These include:

  • Free events with our active travel van - Helping to promote active and sustainable travel with staff.

  • Pool bikes - Businesses can borrow bikes from us to provide to staff as a taster.

  • Car share - Free access to Staffordshire Car Share Scheme.

  • Public transport - Taster tickets for staff.

  • Business travel plan support.

To get involved, visit the INTO Air Quality Project webpages.

Resources to promote Active Travel in the workplace

Take a look at these useful websites, guidance and campaigns to help promote active travel in your workplace:

Sustrans are the charity that makes it easier for people to walk and cycle. Their website contains lots of information on active travel, including ‘Workplace travel and planning’, which has guidance on ‘Changing the way your staff travel to work’ and information on the ‘Workplace travel challenge’. The ‘What you can do’ section for ‘Cycling and walking to work’ covers topics like: ‘How to start cycling to work’ and ‘Tips if there are no shower facilities in your workplace’.

The 20 June 2019 is Clean Air Day. Why not get your business involved by running an awareness raising event? You could also encourage your employees to walk or cycle to work for the day. Take a look at the free resources to get you started. There’s also lots of factsheets on air pollution too. 

Cycle to Work Day encourages adults across the UK to get on their bike and give cycle commuting a go for one day. It’s an easy way to boost your employee’s health and improve their wellbeing. Not to mention being good for the environment.

This year’s event takes place on the 8 August 2019. So why not encourage your employees to dust off their old bike and get ready to join in the UK’s biggest one-day celebration of cycle commuting. 

There are loads of beautiful walking routes around Staffordshire. Take a look at the walks near your home or workplace. There’s even a travel planning tool to help you create a personalised plan. 

If you’re keen to get out on your bike, take a look at the cycle maps for each district of Staffordshire. There’s even a cycling journey planner to help you to plan ahead, giving you options to take the fastest or the quietest route. 

ECO Stars encourages and helps operators of HGV’s, buses, coaches, vans and taxis to run fleets in the most efficient and green way. Why not join Staffordshire and Stoke’s ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme? 

Take a look at the Physical Activity in the Workplace page for ideas on how to support your employees to improve their physical activity levels.

The health and wellbeing planner that is found on Staffordshire Connects is an excellent tool that your employees can use to find local (Staffordshire) and national advice, information and support. It covers a range of health and wellbeing related issues, such as alcohol, healthy eating, mental health, physical activity and stopping smoking.  

They can use the health and wellbeing planner to help them make some positive, healthy changes to their lives, by identifying what they want to achieve, what they can do differently to achieve their goal, and understanding what advice and support will help them along the way.

Get in touch

Let us know what you’re doing in your workplace on active travel by emailing WorkplaceHealth@staffordshire.gov.uk.

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