Best year yet for sustainable travel on the Isle of Wight

Visit Isle of Wight’s sustainable travel team is celebrating following a year of success in promoting a greener way to get around the Island.

The Green Star scheme originally launched in 2016 with the aim of encouraging businesses to look at how they promote sustainable travel on the Isle of Wight to their visitors, either through using buses, walking, cycling or promoting the introduction of electric car charging points at their premises.

Since the relaunch of the Green Star scheme in January this year, over 100 businesses have recognised the benefits of promoting sustainable travel to their customers.

Nicola Rogers, sustainable travel project manager says it has been very encouraging:

‘It’s been a great year! 2019 saw the relaunch of the new Green Star scheme with its new structure of bronze silver and gold. We’ve had more than a hundred businesses across the Island sign up to the scheme, which is great. The vast majority of those are either gold or silver status, so that just shows that people are finding it very valuable and it’s an important factor for them to make sure that they are continuing to be eco-friendly and promote sustainable transport.’

Farringford Estate at Freshwater recently achieved the gold level in the Green Star scheme. Sophie Adkins, marketing manager at Farringford Estate says it wasn’t difficult to get that recognition:

‘When we were approached about the Green Star award and I read through the criteria that Visit Isle of Wight were looking for, we had actually achieved nearly all of the criteria and were working towards it. You’ll be surprised at how much you’re doing already!’

The Visit Isle of Wight key card scheme is run in conjunction with Green Star accommodation providers and local bus company Southern Vectis, encouraging visitors to choose public transport instead of using a car, cutting carbon emissions on the Island.

Constant promotion of the key card scheme over the spring and summer months saw the team pick up an award in the UK Bus Awards in November, as Nicola explains:

‘We recently won a silver award in the UK Bus Awards which was for the marketing initiative of the year category, we were really pleased with that because we were up against some really tough competition so it’s been unexpected but we’re absolutely delighted that we that we did so well in that national competition.’

The work to promote sustainable travel on the Isle of Wight doesn’t stop there. Nicola is encouraging more businesses to get involved and help promote the message in 2020 and beyond:

‘It’s really easy and the idea behind the Green Star scheme is that it’s easy to sign up easy to maintain the criteria that we’ve set our and things like adding resources to websites or providing facilities at accommodation or tourist attraction sites. All people need to do is get in touch with us at Visit Isle of Wight and we can talk through the details.’

The Green Star scheme has been developed in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council as part of the Access Fund for sustainable travel; a £1.3 million, three year sustainable transport programme which was secured competitively from the Department for Transport (DfT) now in its final year.