Bath and North East Somerset Council is being urged to take a lead on environmentally friendly commuting and set an example to businesses in the local area by cycle-keen Lib Dem Councillors and Don Foster MP.
Historically Bath and North East Somerset Council has been slow to assume a leadership role in promoting green travel choices. Now Councillor Paul Crossley (Southdown) has asked the Council to join the Cycle to Work scheme which offers employees VAT-free bikes, repaid by loans that are exempt from income tax and national insurance, through a salary sacrifice system.
Cllr Crossley commented, "Cycling is not only good for the environment but it also reduces road congestion and improves health. Many other Councils offer such schemes to their employees, as do several firms here in Bath. The Council should be leading on the green travel agenda and cutting the carbon footprint of the area. The cycle scheme is a great way of getting more people onto bikes and properly equipped for safe and comfortable commuting to work."
Cllr Roger Symonds (Combe Down), another keen cyclist, added, "In fact in Bath we are lucky to have Cyclescheme - the country's leading company in promoting this salary sacrifice idea - right here in the city. This is a great scheme, which I fully support, to get employees on their bikes, not only will it show that the Council values its staff, but a fitter healthier workforce will give better value to the Council."
City MP Don Foster added, "Getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, or cycling and walking should be a high priority. When one of the leading companies offering this scheme is based here in Bath, it amazes me that our Council is so far behind the times.
"With so many Council offices based in Bath city centre, the Council should be taking a lead in promoting sustainable methods of getting to work, as well as cutting congestion in the city."
Richard Grigsby, Director of Cyclescheme said, "We are currently working with nearly seventy employers based in Bath alone and over 80 councils and boroughs within the UK. This includes the RUH, the University and other leading private firms such as Buro Happold and Cross Engineering. Cyclescheme has it's roots in Bath commerce, since the early 90s, and offers an excellent service to employers and employees who have a choice of all of the very best independent bike shops in the south west.
"Our friendly and efficient services are entirely free to the employer and fully compliant with government legislation. In fact we run schemes for the Department for Transport and Office of Fair Trading - the two leading protagonists of the cycle to work initiative.
"I find it ironic that we provide our free service for every public body in the Highlands for instance, but Bath and North East Somerset Council have so far managed to miss out on the best government initiative to date."