New cycling and walking routes are being created in Southport and across the Liverpool City Region

Sefton Council employees could soon be able to claim a new transport allowance for using bicycles and e-bikes (cycles with a small electric powered motor) in order to promote greener travel. 

The local authority is proposing to grant its workers 20p for every mile they cycle not only in respect of travel to and from work, but also for use within daily work duties. 

Sefton recently declared a Climate Emergency at a full council meeting and is keen to encourage as many people into taking more environmentally friendly ways of travelling. 

The council is currently trialling pop up cycle lanes in Southport town centre and Bootle town centre. 

And local people, schools and businesses are currently being asked for their views on plans by Sefton and cycling and walking charity Sustrans for a new ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’ with reduced traffic in Southport. This would cover a large area centred on Shakespeare Street, and bounded by: Lord Street, Upper Aughton Road, Cemetery Road / Eastbourne Road and Scarisbrick New Road. 

Council workers are now being encouraged to get on their bike, with a possible new financial incentive for doing so. 

In his report to councillors, Sefton Council Chief Personnel Officer Mark Dale said: “The use of Cycles and e-bikes will play an important part in tackling the Climate Change Emergency that is faced globally. The authority is taking the lead in responding to such matters, having declared a Climate Emergency at Full Council. 

“Cycling and the use of e-bikes will not only play an important part in helping to tackle Climate Change but has recognised benefits for health and the environment helping to provide a benefit to a reduction in Greenhouse gases and other pollutants which are associated with the use of vehicles powered by fossil fuels.

“Sefton has a vibrant population of cyclists and this is also reflected in the use of cycles by employees, not only in respect of travel to and from work but also use within daily work and work travel to work duties.

“The most recent Covid-19 pandemic has also meant that cycling and e-bikes are to be encouraged to avoid the use of public transport and allowing social distancing.”

If approved, Sefton Council employees who use a cycle or e-bike will soon be able to claim mileage. 

The policy has been the subject of consultation with trade unions and with experts in the use of cycles and e-bikes in the council.

Obligations exist on the employee in terms of cycle or e-bike usage and recommendations are made in terms of insurance and equipment which follow recognised good practice. 

Mark Dale said: “Financially it is hoped that the overall cost will be neutral recognising that it will incentivise cycle or e-bike use over more expensive car mileage.

“Hidden financial benefits to health and the environment are also extremely important. Not having the policy will mean no incentive exists for cycle use and the policy seeks to apply reasonable good practice.”

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