Environmental Excellence

30 May 2012

Environmental Excellence

Winners announced in the inaugural Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel
Organisations from the UK and Belgium win a share of £30,000 in prize money

Norfolk-based car-sharing organisation, liftshare, and the Belgian city of Ghent's cycling programme have beaten off stiff competition from over 120 sustainable travel initiatives across the UK, France and Belgium to win the inaugural Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel.

The winners were selected against four other finalists for the ground-breaking ways in which they encourage people to think differently about how they travel. liftshare and Ghent City Council will now share £30,000 in prize money to further their work to promote sustainable travel.

liftshare was chosen as a winner for its tireless efforts to fill empty car seats on the roads, via its online car-sharing network, which offers a friendlier, greener and cheaper way to travel. liftshare stood out to the judges because of the breadth of its initiatives to promote car-sharing including; a free-to-use public car-sharing network for individuals, and tailor-made paid for schemes for local authorities, organisations and businesses which they then provide free to their users. This strategy, combined with creative marketing and innovative product development, has attracted over 332,000 active liftshare members, with 1 in every 100 cars in the UK registered on the network. Liftshare helps remove around 100,000 journeys from the UK's roads each day, which will cut 113,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, this year alone.

Ghent City Council was selected for its far-reaching mobility plan, which is designed to get more people cycling. Their approach, which includes the creation of a car-free city centre, extensive safety initiatives and investment in creative marketing support, impressed the judging panel. As a result of these efforts, Ghent has transformed from a city with high levels of traffic congestion to a clean, tranquil and safe cycling city, where two wheels take priority over four. One in five of all journeys to work or school in Ghent are now made by bike and the Council provides an excellent example of how to transform the travel habits of an entire city.

Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar Chief Executive says; "We were delighted by the breadth and quality of all the entries into our first sustainable travel awards, making it a difficult decision to select both the finalists and the overall winners. liftshare and Ghent City Council stood out to us as winners for their innovative approach in helping to transform the way people think about travelling. By celebrating their achievements we hope to inspire more people to consider the environment when making their own travel choices."

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Founder Director of Ashden added: "liftshare's achievements are very impressive: with 1 in every 100 cars in the UK registered on the liftshare network a huge number of car miles are being saved, resulting in phenomenal carbon savings.

"The city of Ghent has made cycling safe, easy and pleasurable through its excellent cycling infrastructure, innovative marketing campaigns and well thought-through cycling support, from rentals and repairs at stations through to providing gloves for when it's cold."

The 2012 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel culminated on 30 May at the annual Ashden Awards ceremony in London, where the achievements of all the finalists were celebrated and where the ultimate winners were announced. Eurostar, in partnership with Ashden, launched the Sustainable Travel Award in 2011 to celebrate and support local sustainable travel projects across the UK, France and Belgium. 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.

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

Ends