On Tuesday evening this week the BHBPA joined with the Sustainable Business Partnership to put on an event at the Martlets Hall. The focus was squarely on what we can do locally to promote sustainable methods of transport. An audience of 30 or so interested parties gathered to hear several speakers.
Rachel Crisp, from Mid Sussex District Council, gave us an idea of the challenges facing the Mid Sussex community as a result of changes over the next 20 years. These include the fact that 5000 new homes are to be built in that time, and all those people will wish to move around to get to school, work and leisure places. Various initiatives are being considered by the Council to solve the transport difficulties they face.
Peter Lamb of Edwards Vacuum gave us some examples of initiatives developed by his company to address the transport challenges face by a large employer. As the company started in Shoreham and Crawley, many of the workforce still live in those areas despite the company settling its HQ in Burgess Hill since 2008. Initiatives they have implemented to reduce car and plane journeys include flexible working hours, cycle racks and showers, and video conferencing. Edwards also run and pay for a bus service for their workforce between the workplace and the stations on working mornings and evenings.
There followed a question and answer session which was joined by Norman Baker, the former Lewes MP who runs The Big Lemon bus company whose buses run on cooking fat. All on the panel and most in the audience were keen to support sustainability in travel. Councillor Gary Marsh of MSDC told the audience that there is money in the Council bank to fund sustainable travel projects.
Finally, towards the end of the event, we were able to go out into the car park to try out the electric bikes and to look at the electric car. I have to report that everyone who tried out the bikes was delighted, full of smiles as the power kicked in. And indeed, it was a thrill to sit on a bike and not have to generate all the power yourself. These bikes are fantastic, with just the snag that you need £2000 to be able to pay for one. Thanks go to those who organised this interesting event.