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Winners of the Eurostar Ashden Award Sustainable Travel 2013

Green Travel News
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Posted by Richard Hammond at 10:30 on Friday 21 June 2013

The winners of the 2013 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel have been announced.

Bristol-based cycling charity, Sustrans, and Belgian public transport provider, De Lijn, were selected as joint winners from over 150 sustainable travel projects in the UK, France and Belgium, and will share the £30,000 prize money.

Watch our video about the winners, including interviews with Peter Bragg, Head of Energy and Environment at Eurostar, Tim Temple, Project Manager, Sustrans Connect2, and Patrick Debeuf, Chief Engineer, De Lijn:

The joint winners were announced by the broadcaster and cultural commentator Emma Freud at a packed Royal Geographical Society last night, with over 450 guests in attendance. The Awards, now in their second year, recognise innovative travel schemes from across the UK, France and Belgium that encourage people to adopt more sustainable ways of travelling, helping improve quality of life whilst reducing congestion, pollution, and CO2 emissions.

Sustrans was chosen as a winner for their five-year Connect2 programme, which extended the National Cycle Network into the heart of communities across the UK. Through the Connect2 programme Sustrans created 84 new cycling schemes in towns and cities nationwide, bringing over four million people to within a mile of a safer, greener transport route. The Connect2 schemes overcame many of the major barriers to developing local cycling networks by providing bridges across roads, rivers and rail lines, which enabled direct and unbroken cycle networks to become a reality.

The new routes linking schools, hospitals and town centres to existing cycling routes focused on short essential journeys, which are often taken by car. Early results show that the Connect2 programme has more than trebled the number of cyclists on some routes, which is estimated to save over 70,000 tonnes CO2 emissions annually.

Cyclists in Bath enjoying a newly opened Sustrans cycle track Photo: Andrew Aitchison/AshdenCyclists in Bath enjoying a newly opened Sustrans cycle track Photo: Andrew Aitchison/AshdenDe Lijn, the public transport provider for the Flanders region of Belgium was selected as winner for its project 'Meettram', which transformed the heating and ventilation of its Gent-based fleet of 41 electric trams. Using sophisticated monitoring systems the tram operator identified that more than half of the energy consumed by a tram on cold winter days was a result of keeping passengers warm. To help reduce this energy usage the company modified its tramcars and installed simple energy management technologies to cut down on energy used for heating. CO2 sensors were then used to monitor air quality in the tram to ensure that fresh air is drawn in and heated only when necessary.

The modifications resulted in a 20% reduction in tram energy usage, which will save around 5,000 Euros per tram annually and will lead to a payback period of less than 11 months. Following its success in Gent the same technology will be fitted to 84 trams in Antwerp over the coming months as well as on all new trams and electric buses in Flanders.

Tram energy use per tram went down 20% a year with new energy saving systems in place. Photo: Andrew Aitchison/AshdenTram energy use per tram went down 20% a year with new energy saving systems in place. Photo: Andrew Aitchison/Ashden

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar presented the award to the joint winners.Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar presented the award to the joint winners.Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar said; “Entries this year were of an exceptionally high calibre however, Sustrans and De Lijn stood out to the judges for their innovative approaches and the results they delivered. Through the Connect2 programme, Sustrans has helped change the perception of cycling in the UK and De Lijn’s lateral thinking to create a low-energy heating system has made public transport even more efficient. We cannot underestimate 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.” 

The two other finalists for the 2013 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel were Metro: West Yorkshire Travel Plan Network, which offered over 200,000 employees a wide range of incentives designed to help them kick their car habit, and Stagecoach: ‘Where you want to be’ marketing campaign, which "encouraged car users to switch to public transport.

>> Read more about all the finalists for the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel 

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Ashden Founder Director.Sarah Butler-Sloss, Ashden Founder Director.Sarah Butler-Sloss, Ashden Founder Director, said; “Increasing the use of sustainable forms of travel is worth celebrating. Sustainable travel is affordable to all, helps reduce congestion and pollution while often improving health and wellbeing. We congratulate Sustrans for the huge piece of work it has just completed to extend the National Cycle Network into the heart of our communities and hence dramatically increasing the number of cycling journeys, and De Lijn for its pioneering work in making buses and trams a super-efficient mode of transport.”

>> Ashden Awards

>> Eurostar Tread Lightly

By Richard Hammond.

The new Two Tunnels Greenway has transformed a four-mile stretch of disused railway line into a walking and cycling path linking Bath and Midford. Photo: Andrew Aitchison/AshdenThe new Two Tunnels Greenway has transformed a four-mile stretch of disused railway line into a walking and cycling path linking Bath and Midford. Photo: Andrew Aitchison/Ashden

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