Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Transport Policy

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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198. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the steps he is taking to encourage active travel modes to and from work in his Department and public bodies and agencies that operate under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17374/22]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The Department is a strong advocate of the Green and Wellbeing agendas, areas which are of relevance to active travel.

Over the last few years our cross-Departmental "Green Team" has been strengthened with representation in membership across all locations, including our Offices. These include the Companies Registration Office which incorporates the Registry of Friendly Societies and the Register of Beneficial Owners; the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland; the Labour Court, the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Workplace Relations Commission.

For 2022, the Department signed up to the "Smarter Travel Workplaces" programme which is run by the National Transport Authority (NTA). Through this programme the Department will participate in various active transport initiatives which include "March-athon", Bike Week and "WalktOber".

In collaboration with the NTA, over the summer months we will undertake an "Active Travel" site audit of each of our eleven buildings and undertake an Active Travel survey with staff.

Other initiatives, as part of our annual "Green Month" programme and as part of our Wellbeing Framework,, have focused on providing support and advice to encourage colleagues to get active by walking, cycling and running. Examples have included:

- The ‘DETE on Tour’ initiative where distances cycled by staff as part of their commute, or as part of their own physical activity were logged and combined cumulatively to demonstrate the reduction of the staff’s carbon footprint;

- Couch to 5k, and 5k – 10K support and advice from the staff running club;

- A Bike servicing webinar and onsite clinic.

We have also engaged with the Department of Transport regarding the Cycle Friendly Employer EU certification scheme developed by the European Cyclists’ Federation.

The Department has also been a participant in the Government’s “Bike to Work” scheme since its introduction in 2009 which encourages staff to cycle to work. There is no cost incurred to the Department’s vote in participating in this scheme and the bicycles and any related equipment which qualify under the Scheme are paid for by staff themselves by way of salary sacrifice spread over a single year.

The Department is also working with the Office of Public Works as part of an upgrade to the basement area of 23 Kildare Street to provide enhanced shower facilities and additional space for bicycles, drying racks and lockers for staff of the Department and staff from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media with whom my Department shares the building. These facilities enhancements will support staff who wish to walk, run or cycle to/from the office as part of their daily commute.

In addition, the promotion of active travel will continue to feature in our Wellbeing Framework which my Department is currently reviewing and updating to take into account learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolution to hybrid working.

Active travel and its promotion by the Agencies under the remit of my Department forms part of their day-to-day operations, and as such is a matter for the respective Boards and Chief Executive Officers to determine.


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