UCC to make free bicycles available to staff


UNIVERSITY COLLEGE Cork is attempting to reduce its carbon footprint by making free bicycles available to staff for short journeys around the campus and Cork city.

The initiative will reduce reliance on car and taxi journeys and improve efficiency through reduced travel times, the university says.

The pilot scheme is supported by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s Smarter Travel scheme.

UCC commuter plan manager Stephan Koch has integrated the scheme into the university’s commuter plan which encourages the use of sustainable forms of transport such as walking, cycling and car-sharing.

UCC capital projects officer Niall McAuliffe said: “This innovative scheme is already proving successful in reducing the university’s carbon footprint by displacing car journeys.”

Last year UCC became the first third-level educational institution in the world to be accredited with an international Green Flag award. An Taisce, on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education, granted the international accreditation after a rigorous assessment by an expert panel.

The award arose out of the Green-Campus programme, a student-led initiative by UCC students and staff over the last three years.

The Green-Campus programme, operated in Ireland by An Taisce, has seen the university save €300,000 in waste-management costs, reduce waste to landfill by nearly 400 tonnes, and improve recycling from 21 per cent to 60 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transport is examining ways to replicate the Dublin bicycle scheme in Cork.

The scheme in Dublin allows registered users to rent bicycles from locations throughout the city. Launched in 2009, there are now 550 bicycles in the Dublin network.

The Department of Transport has identified Cork as one of the most promising cities for the scheme.

A study of potential costs and possible locations for bicycles stations in the city is to be carried out.