Dr Paul Coleman (Public Health Registrar and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Warwick) noted the work that was undertaken with Dr Nadia Inglis (Consultant in Public Health) and the air quality monitors as part of the project. Paul Coleman raised the following points:
· All council staff are encouraged to plan alternative walking, cycling and public transport options for their commute to work before returning to work in central office locations following the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be done via WCC’s Active Travel resource (https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/activetravel), which needs to be reviewed regularly. It should also be considered how key elements identified in this study, such as role of air pollution monitors in educating employees about the impacts of air pollution and role of travel planning sessions in changing travel behaviour, can be integrated into future workplace travel interventions.
· Steps should be taken to continue to address the barriers identified in this study that participants reported as reasons for being unable / unwilling to cycle or walk to work. These include safety concerns and lack of cycle infrastructure, financial incentives (such as discounts at local cycle stores) and improved workplace facilities such as showers, changing facilities and a drying room.
Councillor Holland praised presentation and stated that he asked for a travel plan for the MASH when it was developed due to the amount of people who would be commuting to it. Paul Coleman concurred with Councillor Holland over the large amounts (29,000) people who commuted in, out and through Warwick district by car to get to work.
Councillor Andy Sargeant informed the committee of issues he experienced when he cycled to work with not being able to dry his clothes, the lack of bike secure storage and shelters at past workplaces. He added that things were easier to find when driving and there was a lack of bus services that went near or via large workplaces. Paul Coleman concurred with this and added that some participants stated that some bus routes finished before people finished work.
Councillor Kondakor agreed that there was a need for secure bike storage at workplaces and added that local cycling shops closing made things difficult for people who wanted to cycle, therefore infrastructure to support cyclists needed building. He added that the air quality monitors did not work as well for cyclists as they did for pedestrians. Paul Coleman agreed, stating that the portable monitors were not as accurate at the stationary ones.
Kieran Amos (Chief Fire Officer) informed the committee that Warwickshire County Council’s cycling to work scheme was relaunched in November 2020 and included hiring a bike for 12 months tax free with an option to purchase at the end.
In response to Councillor Shilton, Paul Coleman confirmed that car sharing was not considered during the scheme.
Councillor Margaret Bell expressed her concerns with particulate matter and its effects on environmental health and hoped the project would have a wider impact.
The Chair informed the committee that as planning and development of new workplaces was administered by the districts and boroughs, secure bike storage could be implemented into their planning requirements.