Hospital travel scheme up for green accolade

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A SCHEME at West Suffolk Hospital to encourage staff to adopt greener travel has been shortlisted for an environmental accolade.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is a finalist in the Creating the Greenest County Awards in the category of ‘business: transport’, which recognises ‘exceptional effort to reduce emissions from transport’.

The hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, is up for the award after introducing a plan to improve transport management while reducing the impact of hospital-generated traffic on the environment and community.

Initiatives include an online car share scheme and dedicated car sharers’ car park with 168 staff registering for a permit.

There are cycle to work schemes and free parking at Bury Rugby Club with a shuttle bus to the hospital.

Cycle facilities have been improved and shower and changing facilities modernised for those cycling or walking to work.

Car-free days see staff leave their vehicles at home and find alternative ways to work and a ‘travel to work’ intranet site, which brings all information about options for reaching the hospital into one place.

Marcia Riddington, travel plan co-ordinator at West Suffolk Hospital, said they were pleased to have been shortlisted for the accolade following their efforts.

She added: “We have carried out extensive work to reduce the number of cars coming onto the hospital site with the triple aim of relieving parking problems, improving safety and working towards government targets for reducing carbon emissions.

“The schemes were all introduced following consultation with our staff, offer a choice of alternative methods for getting to work and are are flexible enough to adapt to different shift patterns and personal circumstances.

“These initiatives have had a significant impact on reducing single occupancy car journeys, but we recognise that there is still more to be done.

“We will continue to work closely with our staff to look for further ways of minimising our carbon footprint to protect the environment for the future.”

The awards will be presented in Ipswich on March 22.