Bedford Borough Council celebrates walking and cycling accreditation scheme success Photo by Eric Crawford on Unsplash

Since October 2020, Bedford Borough Council has worked, alongside Sustrans, to increase the number of active travel initiatives in the Borough and the amount of people who are taking part in them.

To help achieve this, the Council is now working with schools and businesses in Bedford Borough to support them to get accredited through Modeshift STARS.

This is a scheme that recognises organisations that have shown excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable and active travel.

Since introducing the initiative, six schools have received Bronze accreditation, with 13 schools set to achieve either Bronze or Silver accreditation by the end of the academic year in July.

Shortstown Primary received Gold accreditation for its work to reduce car use and encourage active modes of travelling.

To support schools, the Council is providing free resource packages to schools seeking accreditation, which include lesson plans, newsletter templates and worksheets.

Sustrans have also been working with several businesses in Bedford Borough to help them receive the Modeshift STARS accreditation. Including Bedford Hospital, Bedford Train Station, Royal Mail and The University of Bedfordshire.

Councillor Charles Royden, portfolio holder for Environment, said:

“The Modeshift STARS scheme has been an excellent way to work with schools and businesses to introduce a greater number of active travel initiatives for people of all ages.

“It has been a huge success and we hope that by providing more opportunities for active travel, people will be willing to swap the car for a more environmentally friendly mode of transport.

“We will continue to work with schools and businesses to encourage residents to travel actively around the Borough, helping reduce congestion and improve air quality for all.”

Last year, Sustrans donated and delivered bicycles to frontline workers at Bedford Hospital so they can cycle to work.

In December, retailer Next joined the scheme in Bedford Borough to get more of their staff walking and using public transport to and from work.

Next has received accreditation for nine sites across the UK and continues to promote sustainable and active travel to its workforce.

The Council funded these schemes through the Access Fund. This is a Department for Transport grant, which was applied for in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council and Luton Borough Council.

If you represent a business or school that would like to be accredited through Modeshift STARS or promote active travel initiatives in Bedford Borough, you can contact sustainable.transport@bedford.gov.uk for more information.