A NEW car sharing initiative between EE and Darlington Borough Council has helped save the company £20,000 and reduce traffic congestion.

The scheme was launched to help solve EE’s staff car parking problems at their Lingfield Way offices.

EE worked with the council’s transport planning officer, Alex Kay, to introduce the plan after pressure on car parking forced the company to rent additional spaces at significant cost.

After introducing the car sharing initiative, EE have been able to now reduce parking spaces by 70 and are gradually phasing out the additional rented spaces.

Staff were offered incentives to sign up to the scheme and within the first 12 months, 5,598 shared journeys were logged.

The company says this has led to a noticeable reduction in congestion around the site and surrounding roads.

Other early results show that staff have clocked up a total of 20,262 car share miles which represents a saving of 5.90 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Darlington Borough Council developed and operated the scheme with the help of its Let’s Go Tees Valley team of travel advisors who promoted it to EE staff.

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The EE Darlington campus Picture: Google

Mr Kay said: “The car sharing scheme at EE is still in its infancy, but these positive early results show that this is a potential model for other companies in Darlington who face costly parking problems. “It also offers staff a more environmentally-sustainable and social way to commute to work, rather than just driving into work on their own.”

Its early success has led to the scheme being shortlisted for the Best Sustainable Travel Initiative at the Modeshift National Sustainable Travel Awards, taking place this November.

Angela Howey, head of EE contact centre operations at EE Darlington said: “The scheme is delivering environmental and social benefits for our people and the local community, including reducing our carbon footprint as we work towards our own net-zero emissions target.

“It’s also fantastic to see the scheme recognised for its positive impact, and shows what can be achieved when business and local authorities work closely together.

“We hope the scheme inspires others to consider more environmentally-friendly ways to travel.”

Councillor Paul Howell, council cabinet member for leisure and local environment, said: “Car sharing reduces the number of single-occupancy cars on the road which is beneficial for everyone. Economically it benefits the flow of goods, services and people through our region along with making a positive impact on our air quality.”

Since the launch, car sharing at EE rose by 3.5 per cent in year one and continues to increase.