Bike charity cashes in to roll out new commuter project

COMMUTERS' travel habits are to be targeted as part of a multi-million-pound initiative to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the Capital.

Community organisation The Bike Station is one of a number of city projects sharing in funding from the Scottish Government's 27.4m Climate Challenge Fund.

The Bike Station, which has been awarded 750,000, will use its new funds for a range of initiatives, as well as to hire eight new permanent staff and to offer free bike trials to small businesses across the city.

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The Newington-based charity has launched the Better Way to Work project, which aims to get 12,500 people changing their commuting habits to become more environmentally friendly.

The measures include bike trials, handing out free bus passes and using simulators to teach motorists "eco-driving", where they use less fuel.

Mark Sydenham, The Bike Station's project manager, said: "This is about giving people the options to decide for themselves which is the best way for them to get to work. The project will give people the information and the equipment they need to make choices that are better for their health, wealth and the environment."

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was due to visit the Bike Station today to talk to staff and volunteers about his party's proposals for a green economy.

Another 11 projects across the city are sharing in an additional 703,000 of funding, including the Portobello Transition Town project, which will receive 173,000 to fund jobs to implement schemes such as home insulation, skills courses and a community orchard.

Over the last three years, the fund has invested to save an estimated 691,028 tonnes of carbon, the equivalent of 225,000 cars off Scotland's roads, according to the Scottish Government.

Environment secretary Richard Lochhead said: "The CCF has captured the imagination of communities all over Scotland and demonstrated nationwide commitment to reduce carbon footprint. I congratulate the communities in Edinburgh for the innovative methods that have been displayed throughout the seven rounds of CCF."

Green MSP Robin Harper added: "The CCF is a chance for communities to lead, and to find opportunities instead of problems. Portobello, like many other communities across Scotland, has risen to this challenge."

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The other projects receiving funding are Bits and Bobs (Intowork), Transition Edinburgh South, Grassmarket Community Project, Balerno Village Trust, Edinburgh Hindu Mandir and Cultural Centre, Edinburgh Rudolph Steiner School Trust Ltd, North Edinburgh Trust, Transition Edinburgh South and Greenworks (Scotland )Limited.