Back in 2016 we decided that the Green Spaces Manager did not always need to use a conventional vehicle, but Stroud is very hilly, so we decided to purchase a second-hand electric bicycle. We bought the ‘A2B’ bike from a local supplier, eCycle. The bike has been invaluable for visiting sites and attending meetings, with the added benefits of some cardio-vascular exercise and free parking. It has clocked up some 250 miles of fuel-free transport so far, half uphill and half downhill!
Also relating to cycling are some really useful ‘Cycle to Work’ schemes. These are schemes that incentivise employees to cycle to work. The employer signs up to a particular scheme – we chose www.cyclescheme.co.uk/ – and this enables the employer to purchase the bike (and some kit if needed) – with the employee paying this back in instalments through their salary typically over 12 months. The savings are due to the scheme operating as a ‘salary sacrifice’ employee benefit. This means that you agree to give up part of your salary in exchange for a benefit – in this instance the benefit is a bike and/or kit. The salary sacrifice is taken from your gross salary (before tax) which means that you will pay less Income Tax and National insurance.
Until recently the maximum purchase was £1,000 but the government rules have recently changed. The savings depend on how much tax the employee pays, but typically are between £250 and £390 on £1,000.
Three members of our team have so far taken advantage of the scheme, and are already reaping the health benefits as well as lower carbon emissions.
If you are interested in participating, check out the schemes online and encourage your employer to have a look too, as it may also help them with carbon-reduction targets.