Celebrating Success in Sustainable Travel

19 Apr 2012

Finalists announced in first Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel

Liftshare.com, Cambridgeshire County Council, Devon County Council, Ghent City Council, Octopus Plan and TaxiTub have been selected as finalists for the inaugural Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel. The finalists are being recognised for the outstanding quality of their local sustainable travel initiatives. Each of the finalists now stands to win a share of £30,000 in prize money, when the ultimate winners are announced on 30 May 2012.

Eurostar, in partnership with Ashden, has launched the annual Award to celebrate and support local sustainable travel projects across the UK, France and Belgium. Over 120 organisations from all three countries registered interest. Each of the finalists announced today has demonstrated an innovative and practical approach to encouraging people to think differently about how they travel.

The finalists selected by a panel of experts from the sustainability field are:

  • Cycle Cambridge (Cambridgeshire County Council) was recognised for its new holistic approach to cycle prioritisation, combining large extensions to the cycling network with innovative promotional activities. These initiatives have helped reinforce Cambridge's position as the city with the highest percentage mode share of cycling in the UK.
  • Cycle Exeter (Devon County Council) has paved the way for Exeter to become a true cycling city. With nearly 50km of new and improved cycle lanes built since 2005, youngsters are being inspired to get on their bikes and employees encouraged to cycle to work. With the city's cycling mode share now three times the national average, a cycling culture is being built from scratch.
  • Norfolk-based Liftshare.com was selected for its work to fill empty car seats on the roads while offering a friendlier, greener and cheaper way to travel. Through a range of initiatives, Liftshare's online car-sharing network removes about 100,000 journeys from the UK's roads every day.
  • The City of Ghent's far-reaching mobility plan was designed to get more people cycling. This included the creation of a car-free city centre, extensive development of the cycling network and investment in creative marketing support. As a result, one in five of all journeys to work or school in Ghent is now made on two wheels.
  • Octopus Plan stood out for its programme to promote walking and cycling to schools in Belgium through a combination of online resources and community engagement. This has helped schools, their staff and parents as well as local authorities to identify and remove potential barriers to sustainable travel. Since 2006 over half of all Flemish schools have joined the Octopus Plan.
  • Brittany-based Taxi Tub offers a virtual network of pre-bookable taxis in rural Brittany, helping reduce CO2 emissions, ease traffic congestion and save users money. Fully integrated into the bus network, this innovative scheme makes use of existing vehicles to expand mobility options and enable rural car sharing, where an equivalent scheduled bus service would be prohibitively expensive to run.

Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar Chief Executive says: "Launching this Award in partnership with sustainability experts, Ashden, has allowed us to showcase some of the most ground-breaking sustainable travel projects in the UK, France and Belgium. Each of the six finalists has demonstrated excellence and an innovative approach through their various projects. By celebrating their achievements and successes we hope to inspire even more people to travel sustainably and consider the environment when making their own travel choices."

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Founder Director of Ashden added: "Our sustainable travel finalists offer inspiring examples of how introducing new infrastructure and encouraging people to change their transport habits can generate a whole range of benefits to our societies, from making more liveable and cleaner cities, to boosting local economies and encouraging healthier lifestyles."

The 2012 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel culminates on 30 May at the annual Ashden Awards ceremony in London, where the achievements of all the finalists will be celebrated and where the ultimate winners will be announced.

The Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel forms part of Eurostar's Tread Lightly programme to reduce the business's impact on the environment and encourage people to switch to more sustainable modes of transport. Since 2007, Eurostar has made substantial progress towards reducing carbon emissions, sourcing responsibly and recycling.

Eurostar has also pledged to reduce carbon emissions across its entire business by 25% by 2015. This ambitious new target will see Eurostar scrutinise every area of its operations including its supply chain and other areas outside its immediate business making changes where necessary.

For more information about the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel or Eurostar's Tread Lightly programme, visit www.eurostar.com/treadlightly

Ends

About the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel
As part of its Tread Lightly programme to cut carbon and get people thinking differently about their journeys, Eurostar partnered with Ashden to launch a new award for sustainable travel. With a prize fund and a host of benefits, the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel celebrates and supports local sustainable travel projects in the UK, France and Belgium. For more information about the award visit www.ashdenawards.org/travel_awards

About Ashden
The Ashden Awards were founded in 2001 to encourage the greater use of local sustainable energy to address climate change and alleviate poverty. Since then they have rewarded over 140 green energy champions across the UK and the developing world. Ashden showcases and celebrates best practice, encourages the expansion and replication of winners' work, raises awareness of the potential of local sustainable energy, and advocates on their winners' behalf. For further information, including photos, films, and case studies on past winners, go to www.ashden.org. The Ashden Patron is HRH The Prince of Wales, visit www.ashden.org

About Eurostar
1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland® Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.

2. Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR.

3. The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph. Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 100 million passengers between London and the Continent. Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet. The new Eurostar e320 will carry more than 900 passengers at speeds of up to 320kph.

4. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe's leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding European high-speed rail network.

5. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's biggest customer.

For more information about the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel and case studies please contact:
Eurostar Press Office
t: 00 44 (0) 20 7843 5500
e: press.office@eurostar.com