23/05/2014 Winners announced in the 2014 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel

23 May 2014

Gloucestershire-based green energy company, Ecotricity, and public transport authority, Tisséo-SMTC from Toulouse, have beaten off stiff competition from over 100 sustainable travel projects in the UK, France and Belgium to win the 2014 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel.

The joint winners were selected for their successful and innovative sustainable travel projects, and will share £30,000 in prize money to invest in expanding the reach of their schemes.

Ecotricity was chosen for its success in kick-starting the uptake of electric cars in the UK. Eco entrepreneur and founder of Ecotricity, Dale Vince, set out to eliminate one of the biggest barriers to uptake by creating a new ‘Electric Highway’ of extensive charging points across Britain. This network, placed across the UK motorway system, has dramatically extended the geographical reach of electric vehicles and in the last 12 months electric cars using it have clocked up more than half a million miles.

To meet the growing demand for fast charging points - Ecotricity expects the network to hit the million mark later this year -  Ecotricity has committed to installing them at every motorway service station in Britain by the end of 2014, enabling drivers to fully charge their vehicles in 20-30 minutes, as well as doubling the numbers of chargers at each location. In addition, the enterprise is rolling out new technology to cater for all electrical charging standards, allowing a range of new models to use the network.

Public Transport authority, Tisséo-SMTC, impressed the judges with data showing phenomenal growth in the use of public transport in Toulouse - France’s fourth largest city. Tisser means ‘to weave’ in French, and this is at the heart of Tisséo’s plan, weaving together a comprehensive web of sustainable transport options to create a low-carbon travel network. Tisséo also works with businesses to help them engage employees in sustainable transport whether it’s car sharing schemes, cycling or new bus or tram routes. 

Tisséo-SMTC’s use of integrated smart ticketing, work to expand the public transport network and work to support businesses has increased the number of public transport journeys by 80% from 2006 to 2013. Public transport usage in Toulouse is now the fourth highest  in France, demonstrating a dramatic rise from seventh position in 2006. 

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar said; “Entries this year were of an exceptionally high calibre,  however, Ecotricity and Tisséo stood out for their innovative approaches and the outstanding results they delivered. Ecotricity has kick started the uptake of electric cars through its ‘Electric Highway’ and Tisséo’s integrated public transport network has revolutionised travel in the city. We cannot underestimate the impact of 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 said: “We’re very excited to award two very different, but equally important initiatives. It is fantastic to see the city of Toulouse show that it’s possible to achieve a staggering reduction in car travel. It is also very exciting to see Ecotricity create the first Electric Highway and by so doing, making it now a very viable option to have an electric vehicle.” 

Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said:
“With the Electric Highway, we’re putting the infrastructure in place so that electric vehicles become a logical choice for drivers in Britain. More and more people are now going electric, and awards like Ashden are a great way of getting the message out further.” 

The Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel, now in its their third year, recognises innovative travel schemes which encourage people to adopt more sustainable ways of travelling, helping improve quality of life whilst reducing congestion, pollution, and CO2 emissions. The Awards are part of Eurostar’s Tread Lightly programme to reduce the business’ impact on the environment and encourage people to switch to more sustainable modes of transport. 

For more information about the 2014 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel visit www.ashden.org/awards/2014/travel or to book Eurostar tickets visit www.eurostar.com.




Notes to Editors

From 23 May, the following material will be available for media:

Photos of the Ashden Awards ceremony:  www.ashden.org/media/photos/2014_ceremony

Photos of the winners’ work: http://www.ashden.org/media/uk_photos/2014_winners

Case studies and films about each winner: http://www.ashden.org/winners/tisseo14 and http://www.ashden.org/winners/ecotricity14


The 2014 runners up are:

  • Living Streets joined the finalists because of its high impactcampaigns including an annual national walking month, which encourages people out of their cars and onto their feet by creating safe, attractive streets where it’s great to walk. Their focus is to get children into the walking habit and develop healthier behaviours: over 750,000 school children were involved in Walk to School Week last year. Evidence suggests that the walking habit becomes a lasting one after the annual awareness-raising campaigns end, for example following last year’s ‘Walk Once a Week’ school campaign, year-round walking increased by more than a quarter. Aside from the health benefits, taking cars off the roads also helps cut carbon emissions, air pollution and ease road congestion.
  • Stad Mechelen,in Belgium was selected for its transformation of Mechelen city centre to become a partly car-free zone, reducing traffic in the city centre by 70% in the process. Implementing a car-restricted zone has been key to transforming the city of Mechelen into a haven for living, working and shopping. Its forward-thinking local authority has taken an innovative approach, using cameras and signage instead of physical barriers, and working with local businesses to help them make it easier for people to take public transport to work. Stad Mechelen’s efforts have transformed the way the city is used, enhancing its appeal as a historic tourist destination.

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 they have rewarded over 150 sustainable energy champions and awarded over £3.1 million in prize money, as well as leveraging over £8.5 million of support for the winners. For further information, including photos, films, and case studies on past winners, go to www.ashden.org 
  2. The 2014 Ashden Awards were held at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 22 May 2014. Check out the winners full stories here: http://www.ashden.org/travel_awards


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 145 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.


For more information about Eurostar please contact:

Eurostar Press Office

t: 00 44 (0) 20 7843 5500 / e: press.office@eurostar.com