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Ghent and Liftshare win Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel

Posted by Richard Hammond at 10:44 on Thursday 31 May 2012

From L-R Peter Vansevenan, Head of Transport Ghent City Council, Ashden Patron HRH The Prince of Wales, Nick Mercer, Commercial Director, Eurostar,  Ali Clabburn, Founder, liftshare.From L-R Peter Vansevenan, Head of Transport Ghent City Council, Ashden Patron HRH The Prince of Wales, Nick Mercer, Commercial Director, Eurostar, Ali Clabburn, Founder, liftshare.The Belgian City of Ghent and car-sharing organisation liftshare have won the inaugural Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel, sharing £30,000 prize money.

According to the organisers, Norfolk-based car-sharing organisation, liftshare, and the Belgian city of Ghent’s cycling programme were selected against four other finalists "for the ground-breaking ways in which they encourage people to think differently about how they travel".

liftshare and Ghent City Council will now share £30,000 in prize money to further their work to promote sustainable travel.

liftshare was chosen as a winner "for its tireless efforts to fill empty car seats on the roads, via its online car-sharing network, which offers a friendlier, greener and cheaper way to travel". liftshare stood out to the judges because of the breadth of its initiatives to promote car-sharing including; a free-to-use public car-sharing network for individuals, and tailor-made paid for schemes for local authorities, organisations and businesses which they then provide free to their users.

This strategy, combined with creative marketing and innovative product development, has attracted over 332,000 active liftshare members, with 1 in every 100 cars in the UK registered on the network. Liftshare helps remove around 100,000 journeys from the UK’s roads each day, which will cut 113,000 tonnes of carbon emissions this year alone.  

Ghent City Council was selected "for its far-reaching mobility plan, which is designed to get more people cycling". Their approach, which includes the creation of a car-free city centre, extensive safety initiatives and investment in creative marketing support, impressed the judging panel. As a result of these efforts, Ghent has transformed from a city with high levels of traffic congestion to a clean, tranquil and safe cycling city, where two wheels take priority over four. One in five of all journeys to work or school in Ghent are now made by bike and the Council provides an excellent example of how to transform the travel habits of an entire city.

Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar Chief Executive says; “We were delighted by the breadth and quality of all the entries into our first sustainable travel awards, making it a difficult decision to select both the finalists and the overall winners. liftshare and Ghent City Council stood out to us as winners for their innovative approach in helping to transform the way people think about travelling. By celebrating their achievements we hope to inspire more people to consider the environment when making their own travel choices.” 

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Founder Director of Ashden added: “liftshare’s achievements are very impressive: with 1 in every 100 cars in the UK registered on the liftshare network a huge number of car miles are being saved, resulting in phenomenal carbon savings.

“The city of Ghent has made cycling safe, easy and pleasurable through its excellent cycling infrastructure, innovative marketing campaigns and well thought-through cycling support, from rentals and repairs at stations through to providing gloves for when it’s cold.”

The 2012 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel were announced last night at the annual Ashden Awards ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society, London, and were broadcast live on green.tv.

For more information about the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel or Eurostar’s Tread Lightly programme, visit www.eurostar.com/treadlightly 

>> Finalists announced in Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel

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