Council staff in push for health

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As part of Bike Week, Larne Council is promoting a scheme which allows employers to loan cycles and equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit.

The Cycle to Work scheme e is a UK Government tax exemption to promote healthier journeys to work and to reduce

environmental pollution.

Danny Kennedy MLA Minister for Regional Development’s report entitled Building an Active Travel Future for Northern Ireland indicates that Northern Ireland has the lowest levels of walking and cycling in Europe yet almost two thirds of journeys undertaken (63 per cent) are less than five miles and over a third of journeys are less than two miles.

At a pre-work breakfast promoting the scheme to council staff, Mayor Councillor Maureen Morrow said: “Larne Council cares about its employees and has opened up this scheme not only to promote active travel but to promote a healthier lifestyle among staff.

“Research has shown that on average cyclists are as fit as an average person 10 years younger and live two years longer than non-cyclists so this is a very real opportunity to support our staff in improving their health and wellbeing.

“ I would encourage other employers in the borough to engage in the scheme”.

A number of employees described their experiences in accessing the scheme and outlined the ease with which it was administered within the council, the financial savings they had made and the health benefits and enjoyment they

get out of using their bikes.

Since the scheme was introduced one member of staff now cycles the journey from Whitehead to Larne Leisure Centre each day to work.

Director of environmental services, Philip Thompson, congratulated staff who have taken part in the scheme.

“I am very encouraged by the leadership and enthusiasm by staff to take up the Cycle to Work initiative and their efforts in commending the scheme to the rest of the workforce.

“Everyone is a winner through this scheme – it is good for the environment, a financial and health benefit to staff and ultimately the Council, as it demonstrates best practice in creating a healthier workforce and a healthier environment.”

Are you involved in a Cycle to Work scheme through your employer? Share your views by writing a Letter to the Editor, 8 Dunluce Street, Larne or email news@larnetimes.co.uk