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Upcoming travel strategy to promote sustainable travel

11 Jun 2024

Process ongoing to assess impact of any changes

As part of our University’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, we have been working on a fresh approach to travel. 

Our goal is to encourage more sustainable transportation options for our colleagues while ensuring fairness and affordability. 

As a result we are working through an equality impact assessment (EIA) with different groups across campus, including the staff networks.

We are aware that this has caused lots of discussion and the creation of a survey, which is not an official part of the EIA and was not created by the University.

Our academic lead for sustainability, Professor Carly McLachlan, has also been attending meetings to hear the views of colleagues about how any changes will impact them.

However, there has also been some incorrect information being circulated online, so this message seeks to address that, while providing some information on where our process is up to.

What is the current situation?

We have long been committed to implementing sustainable travel initiatives across the University, including interest-free loans, public transport season tickets, the Cycle to Work scheme for colleagues, and installing 4,000 cycle parking spaces. 

Car parking is currently significantly cheaper than public transport and charges for other parking near to campus. The cheapest car parking for staff is 77p a day, rising to £3.36 for colleagues on the top grades. A Greater Manchester day bus ticket costs £5. Staff car parking provision is financially and operationally unsustainable, with a £200k loss last year projected to double to £400k. 

What is changing?

This change is motivated by our Environmental Sustainability Strategy, where we have committed to reducing congestion, minimising emissions, and working with local stakeholders, partners, and suppliers to continue to reduce our environmental impact. 

There is a financial sustainability aspect to this change, but where new charges lead to surplus revenue, this will be invested in sustainable travel.

The changes would be:

  1. Colleague car parking charges will increase 
  2. The prices have not been decided but will be in line with local public transport, and significantly lower than those being quoted in some online discussions. 
  3. Blue Badge holders will continue to receive free parking.
  4. Pricing will be tiered based on grade. The full increase will not come in at once with charges gradually increasing over the next three years to help with affordability. 

What would happen to surplus revenue?

Any surplus revenue generated would be reinvested in sustainable travel initiatives across the University. This includes cycle storage, showers, and also the recently announced extension of the 147 bus route between campus and Piccadilly Station. We’re also exploring a similar service for Victoria Station.

What will happen next?

Any changes will not begin to be implemented until the new academic year and will only be enacted after the thorough EIA and receiving formal approval.

We will give everyone plenty of notice when changes are due to happen.

What other sustainability initiatives are happening?

The travel strategy is just one part of our university’s overall plan to tackle climate change causing emissions. Our air travel has decreased by almost 50%, saving over 8,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. We have divested from all fossil fuel companies and reduced the carbon intensity of other investments by 55%. 

We recently announced an agreement to purchase our electricity from a 104,000-panel solar farm, which will provide up to 65% of our electricity and save 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

We are also investing £160m into the efficiency of our buildings. The zero-carbon works in our Booth Street East and Dalton Ellis buildings have been completed and will save an estimated 332 tonnes of carbon annually.

Other developments include greening the Old Quad to make a haven for our community and biodiversity. 

Find out more

  • Visit our Environmental Sustainability pages
  • An open meeting will be held later this year to discuss the University’s Travel Strategy after we have conducted the EIA. The details will be issued in due course.