EMPLOYEES of firms have pledged to reduce emissions from staff commutes in a week-long initiative in May.

Staff from EE in Darlington, Chemoxy International in Middlesbrough, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies in Billingham and the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton, will take part in the campaign from May 12 to May 19.

The campaign is being run by Let's Go Tees Valley and is expected to see commuters swap their single-occupancy car journeys for walking, cycling and public transport.

In return, participants will have the opportunity to win prizes and recognition.

Georgina Burke of Let’s Go Tees Valley said: “Changing the way we travel from our usual car ride in favour of active travel modes can have a significant impact on our health, waistlines and wallets, as well as reducing congestion and improving air quality."

Let's Go Tees Valley is funded by the Department of Transport,but is also supported by the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

The Northern Echo:

Let's Go Tees Valley's Jonathan Scott, left, and EE's Angela Howey

She added: “We’re challenging commuters to stop and think before grabbing their car keys for local journeys.

"Nearly half of all of car journeys are under two miles and these short trips have a huge impact on local congestion and pollution."

EE, which has a call centre in Darlington, signed up to the initiative after implementing a car-share scheme in September.

Angela Howey head of contact centre operations at EE said: “As a growing business with upwards of 2,000 staff needing to access the site on a daily basis we were experiencing huge pressure on our limited car parking spaces.

"The increased demand issues meant that we had started to rent additional spaces from a neighbouring site and we were keen to reduce the number of vehicles being used to access our site on the edge of Darlington.

"We’re a big employer in the town and this is helping us to demonstrate how much we care by reducing the environmental, congestion and health impact of cars travelling to and from our site.”

Let's Go Tees Valley claims around two thirds of cars have one person in them when commuting to work.

They said this was a significant factor in statistics which suggest the majority of greenhouse gas emissions are transport-related.