Mayor encourages workers to ditch the car and cycle to work
06 October 2015
Employees and elected members of Derry City and Strabane District Council are being encouraged to ditch the car in favour of cycling to work, thanks to a Cycle to Work Scheme being introduced across the organisation.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion has given her backing to the scheme by saying the initiative is an excellent idea to help both reduce environmental pollution and promote exercise amongst employees and local councillors.
She said that over 130 staff from the former Derry City Council and Strabane District Council took part in the scheme when it was first initiated a few years and the new Council is confident that interest will be high among staff and councillors.
“This is a fantastic initiative for people who would love to get fit, help make a difference to the local environment, reduce congestion and reduce their stress in the morning worrying about getting a car parking space. It’s a step in the right direction towards making cycling to and from work, the norm.,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Sustrans Area Manager Ross McGill explained that the scheme has been unanimously supported by Council members and that it provided the ideal opportunity for workers to incorporate cycling into their daily lives, as well as save money and help the local environment.
He commented: “We know that access to bikes and equipment can be a barrier to people taking up cycling. Thanks to the Council’s Cycle to Work scheme employees and councillors can spread the cost of purchasing a new bicycle and safety equipment, and even save on tax and national insurance in the process.
“I would encourage other businesses to look into setting up such schemes. A bike friendly work place is better for business with regular cyclists taking 50% less sick days and . up to thirty bikes can fit into one car parking space, so there is also an incentive for employers as cycling helps alleviate congestion.”
Employees can hire bicycles and/or safety equipment saving between 30% and 50% on the cost through a special salary sacrifice arrangement. Bicycles and safety equipment can be loaned to employees for commuting and work-related purposes for an agreed 18-month period as a tax-free benefit, and staff can then use part of their salary to pay hire charges for the equipment through the scheme. The participants benefit from savings on tax, national insurance, and can order equipment up to the value of £1,000. The new scheme will come into effect in October.
For more information on cycle to work schemes and how employers can set up their own, go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-to-work-scheme-implementation-guidance or contact Sustrans NW office c/o Derry City and Strabane District Council on (028) 71 253253