Bridgend College is forward thinking College when it comes to sustainability. In fact, they were the first college to sign the Welsh Sustainable Development Charter and first Welsh College to sign the United Nations HE Initiative where a commitment to green travel is placed in full view of a global audience.
You see this green travel commitment via the link here
The green travel plan is a key aspect of the colleges’ sustainable development strategy and was launched in 2012 to encourage staff and students to think about the impacts of transport, fossil fuel, noise and pollution and to take up greener modes of travel such as walking, cycling and public transport.
Bridgend College really wanted the travel plan to be a success and decided to seek the help of South East Transport Alliance (SEWTA) Travel Plan Coordinators. The support and advice received was second to none. The coordinators visited the college on several occasions providing friendly advice and guidance and even helped the college develop a cross-college survey, collating the data and reporting the results back to the college too!
Further still, they helped support the colleges’ application for grant funding which was used to install three cycle shelters, eight pool cycles, including electric, folding and hybrid and cycle training too which was over-subscribed.
This was enormously helpful and was instrumental in the college achieving the Gold Level of the Welsh Green Travel Plan Award in 2014.
Chris Long, Health, Safety and Sustainable Development Manager at Bridgend College, said:
"We are delighted to have received the Gold Level Award which is a reflection of the commitment of the college for sustainability and the excellent collaborative work between the college and the support of SEWTA’s Travel Plan Coordinators’.
The benefits of this scheme have been significant for the College with over 40 members of staff now the proud owners of their own new cycles!!
But we have also seen a definite increase in the number of vehicles being used for car-sharing and feel that this is beneficial in terms of reduced emissions, noise and on-campus road safety.
Further, there have been zero neighbourhood parking complaints and a significant decrease in the number of inappropriate parking behaviour which we feel is due to the diminished ‘competition’ for parking spaces. This has, and continues to have, a very beneficial knock-on effect in terms of significantly reduced time/accumulative hours-spent and cost of tackling inappropriate behaviour.
Cycling events/competitions are arranged by members of staff and this is as a result of the pool cycle scheme which has led to increased take-up of the purchase scheme.
This is, in our view, a very positive effect of the SEWTA grant scheme and we would strongly encourage all organisations to engage with SEWTA and develop their own green travel plan.
Bridgend College, spurred on by this and the great success of their in-house cycle-to-work scheme are already preparing for application towards the Platinum Level Award in 2015.