Joint Consultative Committee Cabinet Meeting September October Agenda Item No by yououghtaknowme

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									Joint Consultative Committee                                        18 September 200722 

Cabinet Meeting                                                             October 2007





                                        Agenda Item No 10 (Joint Consultative Committee)



Green Travel Plan

Corporate Director (TM)


Summary:	              One undoubted threat to our environment is the growing
                       congestion and pollution from car journeys, often undertaken by
                       individuals on their own. The Council cannot solve the global
                       problem but it can set an example in the way it operates. This is
                       a key action in the Council’s Environment Strategy. There are
                       also potential health benefits which could benefit the Council
                       through lower sickness absence. This report proposes a number
                       of changes which could make a contribution to the reduction of
                       these problems so far as the Council’s staff are concerned.
Conclusions: 	         It will be difficult to change habits which have grown from the
                       relatively cheap and easy access to private car use.
                       Notwithstanding congestion in the peak hours in Long Stratton,
                       travelling by car in rural areas is invariably quicker than travelling
                       by public transport, bicycle or on foot. Therefore, if the Council
                       wants to change employee habits, it needs to incentivise “green”
                       activity and discourage travel that is less “green”.
                       Although this report lists a number of proposals which have
                       been shown to work in other locations, we cannot expect a
                       massive change in mode of travel by our own employees.
                       Nevertheless, most of the proposals in this report are low cost,
                       and could move the Council in the right direction.
Recommendations:       1. 	 That JCC recommends to Cabinet the adoption of some or
                            all of the positive proposals set out in Section 3 of the main
                            report.
                       2. 	 That JCC recommends to Cabinet a target of 5% shift
                            towards “greener travel behaviour” to be measured through
                            a repeat of the travel survey.


Cabinet member(s):                Ward(s) affected:
                                  All
Contact Officer, telephone        Tim Mobbs 01508 533651
number, and e-mail:               tmobbs@s-norfolk.gov.uk
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1.     B
       	 ackground

1.1. 	 The number of car journeys on the roads of Norfolk has grown at a rate of 3.5%
       per annum over the last 5 years, with the rate on the Norwich Southern Bypass
       increasing by an average of 7.5% over the same period. It is widely recognised
       that the construction of more roads encourages even more road traffic.

       • 	 British workers spend on average 46 minutes commuting each day – more
           than European counterparts – despite higher population densities in Britain.
       • 	 Nationwide deregulation has led to a worsening bus service and in South
           Norfolk many communities are not served by any form of public transport.
       • 	 Government sources attribute 10,000 premature deaths each year to vehicle
           emissions.
       • 	 The car accounts for 69% of journeys to work in Norfolk, compared with 6%
           by public transport, 8% by walking and 7% by cycling
       • 	 The car remains the only transport option for many rural communities.
       According to the Council’s Environment Strategy the challenge is: to ensure that
       a wide choice of travel options is available to reduce reliance on the car and its
       associated environmental impacts.

1.2. 	 Both the County and the District Councils expect major employers to adopt
       “green travel plans”. Indeed these are mandatory in the case of planning
       applications for major employment development. So far, the Council has not
       adopted a green travel plan of its own so this report is a first move in that
       direction.

1.3. 	 There are also potential health benefits of using the car less which could benefit
       employees and the Council through lower sickness absence.

1.4. 	 Any reduction on pressure for car parking at South Norfolk House would be
       welcome.

2. 	   What We Have Already Done

2.1. 	 Around the turn of the Century the Council introduced a new business mileage
       rate for cycling of 7.2p per mile, subscribed to and publicised a web based lift
       sharing scheme and introduced an interest free loan for the purchase of cycles.
       The parameters of the lease car scheme were modified so that only vehicles
       emitting less than 175 gms per kilometre of green house gases could be leased
       through the Council. The Council also invested in a fleet of gas powered vans
       though these have not been wholly successful and have by now been replaced
       by diesel powered vehicles.

2.2. 	 In 2006, the Council reviewed its car schemes, began the phased withdrawal of
       the lease car scheme and harmonised mileage payments to 40p per mile
       regardless of engine size or emission levels. At the time JCC postponed a
       decision on linking car mileage schemes to car emissions which would have
       been introduced as a marginal element initially, becoming a bigger element later
       on as employees could take this into account when replacing their vehicles.
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       Members were not hostile to the idea but felt it should be dealt with as part of this
       Green Travel Plan. JCC agreed an increase in the business mileage rate for
       cycling to 20p per mile.

3.     Positive action we could take to reduce single occupancy car use

3.1.   Walking and Cycling

       a) 	 Interest Free Loans for the purchase of cycles to get to work: Although the
            interest free loans for purchase of cycles for use in the journey to work was
            introduced a few years ago, there has been virtually no take up. To
            encourage take up, we could increase the limit to £1,000 which would cover
            the purchase of a very good cycle and accessories. The cost to the
            Council would comprise a minor administrative task and the cost of
            interest foregone – at the present rate of interest this could equate to
            about £60 per cycle per year of loan outstanding. Take up is not likely
            to be very great so the cost will not be very large.
       b) 	 Discount Scheme for Bicycle Purchase: Several companies are offering a
            discount scheme for bicycle purchase based around the idea that the
            employer buys a bike and cycle accessories selected by the employee, the
            employer loans the bike to the employee for an agreed period (normally 12-
            18 months); the employee makes a “salary sacrifice” for the duration of the
            hire period and at the end of the hire period the employer can sell the bike
            and accessories to the employee for a nominal amount. Alternatively the
            employer can retain ownership of the bike and accessories and allow the
            employee to use the bike and accessories with no salary sacrifice. The
            employer can reclaim the VAT on the bike and accessories purchased and
            does not have to pay National Insurance Scheme contributions in relation to
            the amount of salary being sacrificed. (Certain employers can also claim a
            capital allowance on the bike and accessories purchased though this would
            not apply to a council.) The scheme must be open to all employees over 18
            years old who have completed their probationary period. Assuming the
            cost to the Council of acquiring the bike and accessories is reimbursed
            by the employee through a “salary sacrifice” the only cost to the
            Council would be the administrative effort in supporting the scheme.
            Whether it would be worthwhile depends on whether similar bikes
            could be bought locally at less cost.
       c) 	 Cycle insurance: Because of the number of cycle thefts, it is expensive for
            individuals to insure cycles. In South Norfolk there were 125 cycle thefts in
            2005/6 and 167 in 2006/7 which is average for areas like ours. The Council
            could offer to insure cycles registered for journeys to work and on work
            business through its own insurer which would almost certainly be cheaper.
            The cost for the Council is likely to be very small. In addition as the
            journeys to work and journeys on work business are covered by the Council’s
            Employer Liability Insurance, employees cycling to work would have this
            added benefit.
       d) 	 Safer Routes to Work for Walkers and Cyclists: Many potential cyclists are
            apprehensive of travelling to work by bike when they think of the busy A140.
            However, Council staff who are already established cyclists have devised a
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          number of “safer routes” to work from various settlements and could be
          asked to prepare a more comprehensive network including other South
          Norfolk Council workplaces (Ketteringham, the leisure centres, Diss Business
          Centre etc). The cost of the Council would be confined to the
          preparation of the maps, a suitable leaflet and the display of both.
      e) 	 Improved Cycle Parking: The Council already has adequate cycle parking
           facilities at South Norfolk House, which are big enough to accommodate any
           likely level of demand. If there is significant take up of the scheme, we could
           consider safe cycle parking locker arrangements at other work centres. Cost
           to the Council being £400-£600 per secure bike parking locker.
      f)	 Better Changing Facilities: Under the existing arrangements, employees
          cycling to South Norfolk House or the Long Stratton Leisure Centre are
          entitled to use the showers there free. There are already showers at
          Ketteringham Depot and at Diss and Wymondham Leisure Centres so these
          could be made available for those who cycle to work there. A bigger problem
          is having somewhere secure to dry wet clothing following cycling to work in
          inclement weather. At South Norfolk House we could erect six secure wire
          lockers in the “Dirty Boots Room” for a cost of £400.
      g) 	 The same facilities could be offered to those walking to work although
           realistically this is likely to be confined to those living in Long Stratton and
           Tharston in the case of South Norfolk House and similarly short distances
           away from the Council’s other facilities.
      h) 	 As a further incentive for those willing to bike to work, the Council could offer
           chances to enter a draw for free breakfasts. This would cost a few
           hundred pounds a year at most.
      i) 	 Pool Bicycles: Because South Norfolk House is located in such a rural area
           it would only make sense to provide pool bicycles for site visits in Long
           Stratton and Tharston or adjacent villages. However, several staff members
           have suggested that when making rural site visits further a field, they could
           plan their work to use a folding bicycle. This would reduce the number of
           miles driven. The cost of reliable and efficient folding bicycle is in the
           order of £400 and there would be a need for an additional £200 worth of
           ancillary items including a range of helmets etc and £100 worth of tools
           to enable to the caretaking staff to maintain the pool cycles.
      j) 	 The Council could invite a commercial “bike doctor” to attend at South
           Norfolk House every half year to repair staff members’ own cycles in the
           same way that Autoglass attends to deal with chipped windscreens on
           employees’ cars.
3.2. 	 Public Transport: Public transport is the basis of green travel plans in most
       urban areas. In rural areas it is more difficult and the mapping of the location of
       the homes of employees makes it clear that we have a wide dispersal which
       bears little relationship to public bus routes. The exception is the concentration
       of people along the No 18 transport route from Old Catton via the city centre and
       the Harford Park & Ride to Long Stratton, passing through further concentrations
       of employees at Newton Flotman and Tasburgh. There is also a cluster of staff in
       the Diss/Burston area who could be served by a Simonds bus service. How can
       we encourage employees to travel by bus when the perceived cost of tickets is
       relatively high and the time taken is almost invariably longer than by car?
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      a) 	 Publicising Bus Routes and Timetables: A display of bus routes and
           timetables with the inclusion of the updated timetable by a link to the intranet
           is the very minimum we can do. This could be remotely updated by the
           County Council travel staff. We could also put up poster in South Norfolk
           House.
      b) 	 Interest Free Loan for Bus/Rail Passes: Some employers, particularly in
           Central London, offer their employees either free bus passes or interest free
           loans on them. If a staff survey suggested that by doing so we could
           encourage regular bus commuting it would be worth considering. The cost
           to the Council would be confined to the loss of interest on the money
           loaned.
      c) 	 Discounted Bus and Rail Tickets: The County Council is trying to negotiate
           discounted bus and rail tickets for its employees. South Norfolk Council could
           join in the scheme but a minimum of 300 users is necessary. If they get the
           requisite numbers, this saving could be passed onto staff without any cost
           to the Council.
      d) 	 Park & Ride: Park & Ride at Harford is in a good location to collect traffic
           from the West, North and East of Norwich and buses to and from Long
           Stratton have spare capacity because they are running “against the peak”. It
           may be possible to arrange for the relevant off peak services to divert into the
           Park & Ride where South Norfolk employees could park for £1.40 a day on
           displaying a South Norfolk Council windscreen sticker. The details have yet
           to be negotiated with First Bus and the total cost to the Council would
           depend (a) on takeup and (b) on any decision to subsidise the Park &
           Ride ticket.
3.3. 	 Car Sharing: Although car sharing is both “green” and potentially saves sharers’
       money and has been promoted by the Council for many years, as far as we
       know, only a very small number of employees take regular advantage of this.
       There are almost certainly more opportunities for car sharing, arising from the
       clustering employees. For instance, we have 5 employees living in Burston, 20 in
       Diss, 7 in Tasburgh and 7 in Poringland, 6 in Bungay and 10 in Harleston. We
       have plotted the location of employees working at South Norfolk House on a map
       which clearly shows that even people living as far away as Gorleston, Martham,
       Aylsham and Dereham will pass the homes of other employees quite close to
       them on their way to work. Clearly it will not always be possible for them to car
       share because they may need to be at work at different times or to go home at
       different times but merely knowing who else lives nearby could encourage the
       use of car sharing. However, there are drawbacks to car sharing including the
       minor inconvenience of co-ordinating times of departure and the rare but
       nevertheless important risk of being stranded. We have come up with the
       following proposals.

      a) 	 Database of potential car sharers. It could be a breach of the Data
           Protection Act, if the Council were to publish a list of the addresses of all its
           employees for exchange with all other employees with a view to making car
           sharing arrangements. However, it would be permitted to publish village
           level post code information (ie not particular streets) so that people could
           voluntarily get in touch with each other about the possibility of car sharing
           either on a permanent or casual basis. We would also display a post code
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          map. We should re-publicise the externally organised car share/lift share
          website which we already promote through leaflets in our reception. Almost
          no cost to the Council.
      b) 	 Emergency Ride Home: Those who come to work without their cars need to
           be confident that they could get home if they needed to. For reasons to do
           with the car terms and conditions recently negotiated, the Council now
           operates one pool car which could be made available in the event of an
           emergency, and if it is already out or booked, the Council could undertake to
           pay for a taxi for the employee concerned. As this is not likely to be
           regular event, the cost of this can only be guessed at but it might be
           prudent to make an initial allowance of £500 for this purpose in the
           course of a year.
      c) 	 Preferential Parking for Car Sharers: As an added inducement to encourage
           people to offer lifts to each other, people registered as car sharers could use
           a token which would enable them to park in a reserved space. There is not
           enough parking capacity on our own campus at the moment to reserve
           spaces on the off chance that somebody may car share. However, when the
           new car park becomes available some spaces might be reserved for car
           sharers much closer to the entrance to the main building. Another possible
           incentive for car sharing would be an additional day’s flex leave if an
           individual can show they he/she had shared a ride on say 50 work days a
           year. The former suggestion has no cost but the latter will cost a few
           day’s “lost working time”.
3.4. 	 Working Patterns: Offering staff greater flexibility in their working hours can
       reduce the number of journeys made to work. For example, 1.6% of employees
       already operate a 9 day fortnight and 1.2% a 4 day working week. They save
       travelling time and travelling costs and the employer saves car park spaces.
       However, greater flexibility of this type works against car sharing because the
       more different working patterns there are, the less likelihood that the work
       patterns of two potential car sharers coincide regularly.

      Reducing the number of days that employees come to work also makes it more
      difficult to ensure that work stations are staffed. However, it might be possible to
      save on work journeys without disrupting public services if we could roll out the
      long planned IT and telephone support for home working. These are being
      rolled out for other purposes so though they have a cost it is not
      attributable to the Green Travel Plan.

3.5. 	 Homeworking: The Council has for many years had a policy to encourage
       homeworking but until now the infrastructure has not supported this. Starting
       with the new web based email service introduced to support the latest
       councillors, employees can be offered email web based services at home. For
       planners, for whom their main operating system (MVM) is already web based,
       this opens up the prospect of doing some work from home. Later it may be
       possible to expand this if the security connections for the MVM system can
       permit remote entry. An upgrade of the IBS Revenues and Housing systems is
       now being investigated to enable some of these staff to work from home. So far
       the only current working from home experiment involves two planning staff who
       are working on the positional accuracy improvement plan who are not dependent
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       on on-line access for their computers. These are being rolled out for other
       purposes so though they have a cost it is not attributable to the Green
       Travel Plan.

3.6. 	 Working nearer Home from Satellite Offices: Until the infrastructure supports
       working from home on a comprehensive basis, one way of reducing the amount
       miles travelled would be to allow staff to work from satellite offices which would
       obviate the need for employees who live some distance away, to travel all the
       way to Long Stratton to work. At the moment the only site with appropriate
       infrastructure is Ketteringham Depot where employees already access to the
       Council email, Flare and Integra system. There is only very limited space at
       Ketteringham for additional employees to work in the office but if there were
       significant take up of such an opportunity, the Council could contemplate opening
       a similar facility at Diss Business Centre. However, there are significant
       infrastructure costs to be overcome here in the order of £7,000 installation
       and £17,000 pa rental since at the moment no dedicated landline
       connection between Diss Business Centre and South Norfolk House exists.

3.7. 	 Pool Cars for Work Trips: The Council has already reduced the higher mileage
       rates for using large, high emission vehicles for work trips by harmonising all
       mileage rates to 40p and phasing out the lease car scheme. As part of these
       negotiations, the Council introduced pool cars. As anticipated, take up has been
       small with an average of less than one trip per day but at least one of the users is
       a regular cyclist from home to office and it has enable him to make his work site
       visits without bringing a car to work. Another colleague who lives in Long
       Stratton walks to work and uses the pool car for site visits. These are behaviours
       which the policy would encourage. When the pattern of use of the pool car is
       better understood we will review the decision to rent/lease/buy, thereby
       reducing the cost of this scheme.

3.8. 	 Linking the Mileage Rate to Vehicle Emissions: As mentioned in 2.1 above,
       JCC postponed the decision on linking the mileage rate for work trips with vehicle
       emissions. In essence, the proposal was to apply the 40p per mile rate to
       vehicles within a certain band of emission above which, in the first year, the
       mileage rate would be reduced by (say) a penny per mile and below which a
       mileage rate would be increased by (say) a penny per mile. In the following
       years the 40p band would apply to vehicles with lower and lower emissions and
       the increase for even lower emissions and the reduction for higher emissions
       would increase by (say) a penny per year for five years. If employees adjusted
       over a period of time the emission levels of the vehicles they drove, this
       would be cost neutral. If the emission of the owner/driver vehicle fleet
       stayed the same, the cost of work travel to the Council would gradually
       reduce.

4. 	   Measure of Success

4.1. 	 Changes in behaviour regarding work trips can be monitored through claims
       made. Good practice dictates that site visits are carried out as part of the journey
       work or home or grouped for cost effectiveness. Managers should monitor this.
       Changes in behaviour regarding journey to work are not so easily measured
       because there is no routine data stream to intercept and interpret. The easiest
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       and cheapest solution would be a periodic parking census to be carried out on
       the campus. However, this would not capture the amount of “delinquent parking”
       that was taking place. A periodic survey of the visitors parking, leisure centre
       parking and main Long Stratton shopping centre car parks might be undertaken
       from time to time.

5.     Risk
       	

5.1. 	 The main risk is that the Council adopts various proposals outlined above and
       there is no behavioural change. This is what happened with regard to several of
       the measures introduced a few years ago. The way we would deal with this is by
       periodic re-launches and publicity campaigns or by reconsidering the actions
       outlined in Section 3.

6. 	   Maintaining the Momentum

6.1. 	 Green Travel Plans inevitably need maintenance. We recommend that if Cabinet
       approves most of the proposals above, the small officer group established to
       prepare the plan should be charged with meeting, say, three times a year to
       monitor its implementation. There should be annual travel survey and periodic re-
       launches and publicity campaigns. Information on the travel plan should be
       included in new employees’ induction.

6.2. 	 If the positive measures in Section 3 do not achieve a 5% level of change (or
       whatever Cabinet sets) a range of measures more actively designed to curtail car
       use could be considered.

6.3. 	 The first is to impose car parking charges. This would bring in revenue but there
       would be a cost of collection. Given that it seems likely that this year’s nationally
       negotiated pay rise will be significantly lower than inflation and employee
       expectations this is probably not a good time to introduce car parking charges,
       particularly if most employees can not perceive any realistic alternative means of
       travelling to work. If car parking charges were substantial, this could be a
       deterrent to staff recruitment and retention.

6.4. 	 A second alternative would be to limit the number of times an employee could
       park in the car park each month. The County Council has a scheme of this kind.
       However, the effect has been for many employees at County Hall to park in
       Trowse and walk the final part of the journey to work. In Long Stratton it is likely
       to lead to employees occupying the bulk of the Leisure Centre Car Park and the
       shoppers’ car park which would distort their operation. In particular, as the Co-op
       rents the car park from the Council, it is likely to lead to legal action from that
       source.

6.5. 	 The third option is simply to not extend the existing car parking space on the
       South Norfolk campus. In 2005 Cabinet approved the acquisition of addition land
       to the North East of the campus but then did not fund the capital works to bring
       the car park into existence. This year a small amount of money has become
       available for the building of a “temporary surface car park” accommodating up to
       20 vehicles, to replace the spaces lost by accommodating the new cleansing
       vehicle fleet. Since the new temporary car park will not be properly paved and
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      not so well lit as the permanent car park it is not likely to be popular, particularly
      in Winter. This is likely to lead to displacement parking in the Council’s own
      public car park, down the access road and, as with car parking charges, into the
      Leisure Centre and shopping car parks. This “delinquent parking” could be
      controlled if the Council appointed a part-time “Traffic Warden” or diverted the
      Council’s existing car park officer to visit Long Stratton periodically which would
      mean he spends less time on the Council’s revenue earning public car parks.

								
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