Royal Leamington Spa has taken a step in the right direction to improve air quality in the town with the successful pilot of the Choose How You Move Leamington Spa scheme.
The four-month pilot scheme, which ended on 31 October, encouraged those travelling to Leamington to ditch the car and walk, run, cycle or use public transport, enabling them to earn BetterPoints to redeem on the high street or donate to charity.
343 active users of the app have clocked up a staggering 46,700 miles in sustainable travel, saving 16,300kg of CO2 emissions and helping to improve the air quality in Royal Leamington Spa.
Everyone Active, BID Leamington, Royal Priors Shopping and other local businesses have also backed the scheme, offering prizes, rewards and discounts to users to both encourage their green travel and incentivise visitors to their stores.
The programme supported the aims of Coventry and Warwickshire’s Year of Wellbeing partnership, with those taking part in the scheme benefitting from a boost to their health and fitness by monitoring their levels of physical activity through the app.
Councillor Alan Rhead, Portfolio Holder for Environment & Business, said: “I am so pleased to see that the scheme has enabled meaningful change for those who live, work, visit or shop in Royal Leamington Spa, and has made a significant reduction in carbon emissions in the town. I would encourage everyone to continue using the app to track their travel, and keep an eye out for any future schemes.
“However, there is much more to be done if we are to significantly improve the air quality in our towns. We are currently working on ways to make this improvement, which will encourage even more people to walk or cycle.”
Local resident Dan, who won the monthly ‘Ditch the Car Star’ award, commented: “Joining BetterPoints has made me think more about not using the car as much. I’m far more active now and have lost nearly a stone over the last couple of months.”
Whilst the pilot programme ended on 31 October, local users of the app are still able to spend the points they have earned and can continue to participate in the free national BetterPoints challenge. Participants in the national challenge can use the app to monitor their physical activity, earning BetterTickets for their sustainable travel. The more tickets earned, the more chance participants have of winning a weekly draw of 5,000 BetterPoints.
The Council will now review the results of the four-month pilot and will provide further updates on its future in the New Year.