2. Local context
High levels of car ownership here should not surprise us, a consequence of the rural nature of East Devon. At the last census it was recorded that 84.1% of households owned at least one vehicle, with the national figure being 74.4%. In 2015 the number of registered vehicles in East Devon stood at 98,000 – the highest number of all of the Devon district areas and an 8% rise on the number registered in 2010. [from Knowing East Devon: a people and place profile.]
East Devon has a mixture of urban and rural networks with the district served by limited public transport. The main centres of population are Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Seaton, Honiton, Axminster and Cranbrook.
Many of our staff and elected members commute between these towns. Appendix 2 shows the geographical distribution of where staff live, as at 31st March 2018.
This plan aims to make a contribution to reducing traffic, reducing air pollution and increasing levels of physical activity.
How the Green Travel Plan supports Council goals
The Green Travel Plan has potential to support all four of the Council’s strategic priorities for 2016- 2020 (Encouraging communities to be outstanding; Developing an outstanding local economy; Delivering and promoting our outstanding environment; Continuously improving to be an outstanding council).
The council have relocated staff from Knowle in Sidmouth to Blackdown House in Honiton. Exmouth Town Hall has been refurbished and staff moved in there a couple of years ago. Blackdown House aspires to BREEAM “Very Good” accreditation.
BREEAM rated developments are more sustainable environments that enhance the wellbeing of the people who live and work in them, help protect natural resources and make for more attractive property investments. To achieve a BREEAM rating we need to do a site-specific travel assessment and develop a customised travel plan to promote sustainable reductions in transport burdens. 
The plan builds upon the Council’s Worksmart approach which has already introduced cultural change, encouraging us all to work more flexibly at times and from locations that best meet the needs of the tasks, our customers, ourselves, our team and our organisation. A series of principles and protocols and supporting technology are already in place meaning that our new way of working should naturally lead to fewer unnecessary car journeys.
Council premises and staff
East Devon District Council currently employs staff in the following sites:
Blackdown House Honiton, Lymebourne House Sidmouth, Manor Pavilion Sidmouth, Exmouth Town Hall, Camperdown Terrace Exmouth, Thelma Hulbert Gallery Honiton and East Devon Business Centre, Honiton.
502 staff are based across these sites in 2018. These staff, 60 elected members along with contractors and many visitors generate a significant number of journeys using the surrounding transport network.
As a local authority with statutory duties covering a large and in many places rural geographical area, business travel is often essential. In April 2018 150 staff were classified as essential car users and 72 as casual car users. An important element of our plan is to encourage our staff and members to ask themselves:
- Is my journey necessary?
- Could a meeting be held in another way e.g. telephone or video conferencing?
- What mode of travel is most appropriate for the destination, distance or time of travel?
There is already some support for staff choosing alternative modes for business journeys. For instance staff using their own bicycle during the course of business are eligible to claim 20p per mile in travel expenses.
The council has its own white fleet. In April 2018 the fleet consists of 82 vehicles including one electric vehicle. £154,057 was spent on fleet fuel during 17/18.