Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
It is a common phrase that we use in our office where the second-hand office furniture and ‘no plastic cup’ signs welcome visitors.

Transport has always been a major concern in our office, due to its significance in terms of potential emissions reduction.

According to the UK Committee on Climate Change (UKCCC) transport will make the biggest contribution to emissions reduction. In its recent consultation launched by the Welsh Government, it suggests a model to show a possible route for transport sector emissions reduction as a contribution to an 80% reduction in all Welsh emissions in 2050.

Reaching 80% sounds like a huge task, doesn’t it?

So what are we doing in our office?

Public transport and active travel have always been an integral part of our office culture.  A few walk or cycle but the majority of staff members use public transport as their main mode of transportation to work.  People use an office pool bike to attend meetings locally and we replace external meetings with video conferencing wherever possible.

Is there anything else we can do?

When we were looking for the next step, our attention was drawn to ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs).

The technological advancement and a range of governmental support are making ULEVs more appealing and viable for an office like ours.

However there are barriers which deter many people from buying ULEVs. A report produced by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) identified 9 major barriers and cost is one of the three most common barriers that people face.

It is inevitable that, as ULEVs are becoming more popular, the price will come down. However, it will take a significant amount of time before we all benefit from the economy of scale which will place ULEVs in the hands of all of Wales’s citizens.

Question is ‘what can we do NOW?’.

Our answer to that is a ULEV salary sacrifice scheme which we are implementing from November.

ULEVs leased through a salary sacrifice agreement will have an immediate and positive cost-saving impact as ULEVs are eligible for tax benefits.

An employee’s salary is reduced in exchange for an equivalent benefit in kind. Due to the reduction in pay, this results in a reduced income tax liability for the employee and reduced national insurance liability for both parties.

Additional financial benefit from ULEVs leased through a salary sacrifice agreement is that employees can avoid any of the potential risk associated with its future resale value.

Many public bodies have a car salary sacrifice scheme in place. Maybe it is about time we place a cap on the CO2 emissions level encouraging these public bodies to move to schemes encouraging employees to lease ULEVs?

It would be really interesting to hear your ideas of how we can increase ULEV usage and your examples of good or innovative practice around reducing transport gas emissions.