21/06/2013 Winners announced in the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel

21 Jun 2013

Bristol-based cycling charity, Sustrans, and Belgian public transport provider, De Lijn, have beaten off stiff competition from over 150 sustainable travel projects in the UK, France and Belgium to win the 2013 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel.

The winners were selected against two other finalists from the UK for their successful and innovative sustainable travel projects and they will now share £30,000 in prize money, which they can invest into expanding the reach of their schemes.

Sustrans was chosen as a winner for their five-year Connect2 programme, which extended the National Cycle Network into the heart of communities across the UK. Through the Connect2 programme Sustrans created 84 new cycling schemes in towns and cities nationwide, bringing over four million people to within a mile of a safer, greener transport route. The Connect2 schemes overcame many of the major barriers to developing local cycling networks by providing bridges across roads, rivers and rail lines, which enabled direct and unbroken cycle networks to become a reality.

The new routes linking schools, hospitals and town centres to existing cycling routes focused on short essential journeys, which are often taken by car. Early results show that the Connect2 programme has more than trebled the number of cyclists on some routes, which is estimated to save over 70,000 tonnes CO2 emissions annually.

De Lijn, the public transport provider for the Flanders region of Belgium was selected as winner for its project 'Meettram', which transformed the heating and ventilation of its Gent-based fleet of 41 electric trams. Using sophisticated monitoring systems the tram operator identified that more than half of the energy consumed by a tram on cold winter days was a result of keeping passengers warm. To help reduce this energy usage the company modified its tramcars and installed simple energy management technologies to cut down on energy used for heating. CO2 sensors were then used to monitor air quality in the tram to ensure that fresh air is drawn in and heated only when necessary.

The modifications resulted in a 20% reduction in tram energy usage, which will save around 5,000 Euros per tram annually and will lead to a payback period of less than 11 months. Following its success in Gent the same technology will be fitted to 84 trams in Antwerp over the coming months as well as on all new trams and electric buses in Flanders.

To watch a video of the winners’ story created by Green Traveller, click here: http://youtu.be/fAJSE59gMT8

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar said; “Entries this year were of an exceptionally high calibre however, Sustrans and De Lijn stood out to the judges for their innovative approaches and the results they delivered. Through the Connect2 programme, Sustrans has helped change the perception of cycling in the UK and De Lijn’s lateral thinking to create a low-energy heating system has made public transport even more efficient. We cannot underestimate these projects and their role in helping to reduce the environmental impact of travel. We hope that by celebrating their achievements we will inspire more people to consider the environment when making their own travel choices.

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Ashden Founder Director, commented; “Increasing the use of sustainable forms of travel is worth celebrating.  Sustainable travel is affordable to all, helps reduce congestion and pollution while often improving health and wellbeing. We congratulate Sustrans for the huge piece of work it has just completed to extend the National Cycle Network into the heart of our communities and hence dramatically increasing the number of cycling journeys, and De Lijn for its pioneering work in making buses and trams a super-efficient mode of transport.

The 2013 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel culminated on 20 June at the annual Ashden Awards ceremony in London, where the achievements of all the finalists were celebrated. The Awards, now in their second year, recognise innovative travel schemes from across the UK, France and Belgium that encourage people to adopt more sustainable ways of travelling, helping improve quality of life whilst reducing congestion, pollution, and CO2 emissions.

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.

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

-Ends-

Notes to Editors

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 in 2012 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 http://www.ashden.org/travel_awards

The 2013 runners up:
Metro (UK) who reduced car commuting in West Yorkshire to 27% below the national average. Its ‘West Yorkshire Travel Plan Network’ initiative supported over 180 member companies to promote sustainable travel to their staff. The Network offered over 200,000 employees a wide range of incentives designed to help them kick their car habit. It provided its members with free, tailored advice on anything from setting up state-of-the-art facilities for cyclists to promoting car sharing.

Stagecoach (UK) ‘Where you want to be’ marketing campaign encouraged car users to switch to public transport. The sophisticated campaign used detailed postcode mapping to identify people most likely to shift from car to bus or coach. Stagecoach targeted these travellers with creative marketing that illustrated the benefits of travelling by bus or coach vs car, along with information on alternative bus routes they could test for free. Since launching in 2003, the marketing campaigns and free trials have led to more than 120,000 car users becoming Stagecoach customers - 70% of which are now regular bus users.

About Ashden
1. The Ashden Awards were set up in 2001 to champion practical, local energy solutions that cut carbon, protect the environment, reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. Since then we have rewarded and supported more than 140 winners across the UK and the developing world. Find out more at www.ashden.org.

2. Two Eurostar Ashden Awards for Sustainable Travel were presented at the ceremony, each worth £15,000.

3. Information about each winner and high-resolution images are available here:
Sustrans: www.ashden.org/winners/sustrans13
De Lijn: www.ashden.org/winners/delijn13

For more information about Ashden please contact:
Julia Hawkins
T: 020 7630 2903
E : julia.hawkins@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 130 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