Green initiatives to boost business and investment have been unveiled at a Sustainability Showcase hosted by Skylon Park, Hereford’s Enterprise Zone.
The event, attended by more than 50 people, saw the official opening by Herefordshire Council of the Straight Mile cycle and walking route in Rotherwas as well as the launch of a new flagship Park and Choose site initiated by the Zone and funded by the council.
Zone managing director Mark Pearce hosted the event, which took guests, including businesses from across the county as well as councillors, on a walking tour of initiatives aimed at increasing the number of people walking or cycling to work. He said:
“Sustainability is at the heart of every investment on the Zone. All new buildings have to meet minimum construction standards focused on efficiency and reducing the impact on the environment both during and after construction.
“We have also launched an Area Travel Plan for Rotherwas which aims to reduce the number of car journeys to Skylon Park and increase active travel journeys. The implementation of the Plan is delivered by the council’s energy and active travel team, which is why we were delighted to see the council officially open the Straight Mile route and Park and Choose site today.”
As well as trying out the new Beryl Bikes available on the Zone as part of their City-wide distribution, visitors were able to learn about the new electric charging network and schemes, including grants, available to businesses to support sustainable business initiatives.
Cllr John Harrington, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Transport, officially opened the Park and Choose site. He said:
“By improving our infrastructure and making it safer, easier and more convenient for people to travel by bike or foot, we can help to reduce the number of cars on the road and allow everybody the chance to boost their health and wellbeing while travelling in an environmentally friendly way.”
The Straight Mile scheme is one-mile designated off-road walking and cycling path which stretches from Thorn Industrial estate and across the Hereford Enterprise Zone.
The overall Park and Choose scheme was set up in 2011 and includes 25 registered sites across the county which allow people travelling into Hereford to park and travel the final section of their journey by bike or foot. The expanded site at Rotherwas replaces a former site.
Cllr Trish Marsh, Cabinet Member for Environment, Economy and Skills officially opened the Straight Mile scheme. She said:
“Climate change is a huge challenge and one that we can only face together. The council unanimously declared a Climate Emergency earlier this year and we are one of the leading local authorities tackling climate issues, having cut the county’s carbon emissions by over 30% in the last eight years and recently committing to the aspiration of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
“Although this is a good foundation, there is a lot more to do, and the more we encourage people to choose active methods of travel over motor transport, the more we can protect and preserve our beautiful environment.”
Grant funding opportunities available for businesses include:
- Marches Renewable Energy grant – 50% grant towards the installation of eligible renewable technologies for the business.
- Business Energy Efficiency Programme – grants up to £20,000 to help SMEs lower running costs and promote energy efficiency.
- Travel Fund Grant – offers funding up to £5000 for facilities to support sustainable travel to work, and to help reduce business mileage.
- Marches Building Investment Grant – Capital grants up to £100,000 to reconfigure, extend and renovate premises for commercial use.
For more information, please visit the Herefordshire Council website.