Business travel and the environment

Business travel accounts for a large proportion of the emissions that can damage the environment, so finding ways to reduce business travel can help not only your business but also your local area and the wider environment.

You can also reduce your transport costs, such as fuel bills and vehicle tax, by choosing vehicles that are more environmentally friendly and using them more efficiently.

Creating a workplace travel plan

A workplace travel plan is a good way to reduce the overall need for travel and encourage your staff to think about how they travel. A travel plan will have benefits for both your staff and your business, including

  • reducing the cost of travel to work
  • reducing journey times to work
  • providing a better work–life balance through flexible working and less need to travel on business
  • reducing the cost and challenges of providing and maintaining parking spaces
  • cutting mileage claims and other business travel costs
  • improving your image with employees, customers and neighbours
  • improving staff health and reducing absenteeism.

The key features of a successful travel plan include

  • buy-in from management and staff
  • staff time allocated to setting up and running the travel plan
  • allocation of money for items such as travel surveys and publicity materials
  • a long-term strategic approach to changing the culture of your business, including long-term communication backed up by encouragement and incentives
  • local alliances, such as getting support from your local authority, which may be able to offer practical tips or grants
  • information gathering to find out more about the travel habits of those coming to your site and transport possibilities in your local area. Your local authority may have standardised audit, survey and monitoring procedures to compare results.

Choosing fuel-efficient vehicles

If you’re choosing vehicles for your business, you can save money and reduce the harmful effects of the vehicles on the environment by choosing fuel-efficient vehicles. Generally, newer and smaller vehicles use less fuel and emit fewer harmful emissions.

Petrol and diesel engines have different effects on the environment. Diesel engines generally produce less carbon dioxide but emit more air pollutants than petrol engines. As a general rule, if you plan to use the vehicle for long-distance or motorway driving, a diesel engine is likely to be best for fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions. If the vehicle will be used more in urban areas, where air quality is more important, consider a fuel-efficient petrol engine.

Choosing vehicles with lower emissions will not only save money on fuel costs but will also allow you to take advantage of tax breaks. Use GOV.UK to check the fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and tax bands for cars or the environmental information for vans (GOV.UK).

You can also consider cars and vans which use alternative fuels. Find out more about the grants available towards new electric and hybrid (plug-in) cars and vans on GOV.UK.

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