Stagecoach Calls for Tougher Action on Air Quality as it Launches Annual Green Week Campaign
• Group outlines series of policy suggestions for local and central Government
• Ninth annual sustainability drive takes place from 5th to 9th June
• Customer, community and employee initiatives taking place to raise environmental awareness
• Stagecoach East Midlands to host a variety of activities throughout the region including two Meet the Manager sessions and an event at Lincoln Cornhill
Transport operator Stagecoach has called for tougher action on air quality to protect local communities across Britain as the company launches its annual Green Week campaign.
As global concern grows over increasing pollution in towns and cities, the company said urgent action was particularly needed by central and local government to tackle the public health emergency.
Research shows that too many cars and worsening traffic congestion is a major contributor to the 40,000 to 50,000 early deaths a year in the UK from air pollution. The problem is linked to cancer, asthma, strokes, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia, with children, the elderly, and the poorest in society are most at risk. The issue also has a financial cost to the country of over £20billion a year.
To tackle the problem, Stagecoach is calling for:
- continued investment by public transport operators in cleaner vehicle technologies
- tougher tax regimes and use of clean air zones to target vehicles and journeys which contribute most to pollution on a per-passenger basis
- focused taxpayer support where it will deliver the best value environmental benefit
- clearer promotion of switching from cars to public transport as the most effective route to tackling the twin scourges of urban congestion and air pollution
- targeted public investment in bus priority measures and better transport interchanges
Detailed research by Prof David Begg for Greener Journeys has highlighted that across the country the congestion crisis is turning people away from bus travel and putting jobs in the industry and the wider economy at risk.
Other recent research has shown that Britain’s roads are now the most congested in Europe and that time wasted in the UK’s worst traffic jams will cost motorists £62billion by 2025.
One full double deck bus can remove up to 75 cars from the road – thus freeing up road space, reducing overall emissions levels and helping to improve air quality.
But in order to achieve the kind of reliability and journey times that make buses more attractive to potential customers, operators urgently need input from politicians and local authorities to free up road space for buses, to deliver bus priority measures and to implement bus friendly policies.
The company’s ninth annual Green Week – with the theme ‘Delivering Solutions’ - begins on World Environment Day - Monday 5 June – which is a widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action when people from all walks of life can come together to ensure a cleaner, greener outlook for future generations.
Throughout Green Week, Stagecoach East Midlands aims to further raise awareness of environmental issues among staff and passengers through a series of events. These include:
• Twitter Quiz, Monday 5th June, questions published every hour
• Awareness Event at Lincoln Cornhill, Tuesday 6th June, 10am to 4pm
• Meet the Manager at Lincoln Bus Station, Wednesday 7th June, 10am to 1pm
• Meet the Manager at Worksop Bus Station, Friday 9th June, 10am to 12pm
• Tweet the Director, Friday 9th June, 10am to 12pm
• Staff Green Road Competition throughout the week
Stagecoach East Midlands is encouraging its passengers to participate in at least one of the activities, as there really is something for everyone.
On Tuesday 6th June, the Stagecoach team is inviting passers-by to have a go on their smoothie bike at Lincoln Cornhill. The bike powers a smoothie machine and participants can take away the smoothie they create. Ralphie the Mascot will be participating so people will be challenged to beat him to the top of the leaderboard. Whoever comes out on top will win a monthly travel ticket.
There will also be a second cycling challenge where participants will need to cycle a bus route. If successful, people can win a Megarider ticket for that bus route. Staff will be on-hand to answer any questions people may have about travelling with Stagecoach and will be handing out reusable hessian shopping bags.
Both Meet the Manager sessions will give people the opportunity to pop along to their local bus station and have a chat with the manager about Stagecoach travel. Simon Garbutt, Operations Manager at Worksop, and Phil Gibbons, Assistant Operations Manager at Lincoln, will be on-hand to answer any questions.
The regional travel operator is also encouraging its staff to get on-board with Green Week. The Green Road Competition will see the best green road-scoring driver from each depot win a prize.
Stagecoach East Midlands Managing Director Michelle Hargreaves said: “Public transport has a crucial role to play in helping Britain beat the scourge of traffic congestion, pollution and poor air quality. We urgently need our politicians to take tough action on congestion to free up road space and let buses flourish.
“Our commitment to our environmental responsibility is central to our business and we are continuing to take steps to reduce our carbon footprint as well as working more widely with our partners to protect our environment. Green Week is a good chance for us to highlight our key messages around this but our work to tackle the challenge of climate change is something that goes on all year round.”
Stagecoach Group is mid-way through a five-year environmental strategy, Shared responsibility, shared future, which has been produced in partnership with the Carbon Trust and sets out a package of investments at the Group’s bus and rail businesses.
It follows a 30% reduction in the Group’s carbon intensity since 2007-08 and the achievement of previous targets 12 months ahead of schedule.
By April 2019, Stagecoach aims to further reduce carbon emissions from buildings and fleet, cut water consumption and improve its waste recycling rate.
Stagecoach Group has already been awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard for measuring, managing and reducing its global carbon footprint, becoming the first public transport operator to have its boundaries certified outside of Europe.
For further information about Stagecoach Green Week visit stagecoach.com/greenweek
One fully loaded double decker bus of passengers can replace 75 cars!