16/05/2022

NI Businesses Urged To Promote Greener Ways Of Travel

A number of organisations have come together to encourage Northern Irish businesses to promote greener ways of travel among their workforce this June, as part of the new Active Travel Challenge.

Translink, the Department for Infrastructure, Public Health Agency (PHA), Sustrans, health trusts and some councils are all backing the challenge and are encouraging large and small businesses across NI take part.

Active travel means making journeys by physically active means. The joint initiative encourages people to adopt a mode of transport for the commute like walking, cycling, or getting public transport.

For the month of June, workplaces can sign up and track their journeys to win prizes and compete with other businesses across NI or even set up teams within the office for a bit of healthy competition.

With the rising cost of living, an appetite to make greener choices that benefit the environment, and a return to the office, even in a hybrid model, there is a unique opportunity this year to try out new ways to not only get to work, but to take a break from working at home and get moving outdoors during the day.

This collaborative drive aims to inspire people to adopt greener travel options that will prioritise their health and wellbeing and support Northern Ireland's 'green' economic recovery and progress towards a low-carbon future.

Translink Director of Service Operations Ian Campbell said: "Taking public transport, walking, or cycling, is not only an easy way to add in daily exercise, but it saves you money and creates time for yourself and your mental health. This year we have added more than 100 zero emission buses to our fleet, as well as tap on technology to allow contactless payments on a range of bus services. We are transforming public transport to make it more attractive and easier to use, so more people make it their first choice for travel. Signing up to this challenge means everyone can do their bit to reduce congestion, reduce pollution and create a cleaner, more inclusive society for all."
News Image
Public Health Agency Chief Executive, Aidan Dawson added: "Building active travel into your working day can help contribute to meeting the recommended amount of physical activity of 150 minutes each week. Research shows that physical activity can improve sleep, help maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress. It also reduces the risk of developing chronic conditions including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, Cancer, and respiratory conditions."

Sustrans Director Caroline Bloomfield said hybrid working gives a new opportunity to try active travel methods: "This year we are encouraging everyone to get active on their everyday journeys. Instead of sitting in a traffic jam or spending time looking for car parking, why not try walking or cycling as part of your commute, shopping trip or for leisure. As many of us return to some form of office working there is a great opportunity to change how we travel to work. The Active Travel Challenge is a great way to kick-start being active in your daily routine and make the change to a healthier lifestyle that will also benefit the environment."

Chief Executive of Belfast City Council, John Walsh said the challenge offers an opportunity to try something new: "As a council, we want to encourage more people to walk and cycle and in turn, improve their physical health and mental wellbeing while reducing their carbon footprint. The Active Travel Challenge provides a fantastic platform to encourage people out of their cars, be that walking to the bus stop or walking or cycling for their entire journey. We are delighted to champion the Active Travel Challenge, again this year."

It's free to register and participants can log their 'active travel' journeys online throughout June, with a different theme each week of the month and a range of prizes up for grabs, including vouchers, travel tickets and rewards with national and regional retailers.

To find out more and get involved in this year's Active Travel Challenge go to atc.getmeactive.org.uk/ or email challenge@sustrans.org.uk. Keep up to date with all the latest ATC action on social media using #GetMeActiveNI

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

07 June 2022
'Work From Home Where Possible' Guidance Removed
The 'work from home where possible' guidance, introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, has now been removed, The Executive Office (TEO) has announced. The decision follows an assessment by the Executive COVID-19 Taskforce. It balances health, economic and social considerations and takes on board the latest medical and scientific advice.
29 June 2022
Mental Health Service Waiting Times 'Deeply Concerning'
Sinn Féin have said that the number of children and young people waiting on referrals for mental health services is "deeply concerning". The party's spokesperson for Mental Health, MLA Órlaithí Flynn, was speaking after figures showed that 557 young people are waiting for a referral in the Belfast Trust, while two Trusts did not have records.
21 June 2022
Health Minister Launches Stroke Care Improvement Initiatives
Initiatives to improve stroke care and rebuild orthopaedic surgery provision in Northern Ireland, has been announced by Health Minister Robin Swann. The Minister has published an Action Plan setting out a programme of reform for stroke services.
16 June 2022
Health Minister Publishes Three Year Workforce Action Plan
Health Minister Robin Swann has published an ambitious three year action plan to help address workforce challenges. The newly published action plan is the second instalment under the Department’s long term ‘Health and Social Care Workforce Strategy 2026: Delivering for Our People’.
31 May 2022
Health Services Available Over Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend
Ahead of the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, the Department of Health has issued a reminder of the range of healthcare services available to the public. The Dept said: "If you or some of your family members feel unwell, it is important to choose the service most appropriate to your symptoms.