Staff at the local provider of mental health and community services are putting new smarter driving skills into practice following on from this year’s Climate Week.
The South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is fully committed to being a socially responsible organisation, introducing measures that reduce or offset its environmental impact. This includes encouraging members of staff to think about how they can drive down their carbon emissions when travelling to and from work and to meetings.
Working in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) special driving efficiency courses were held during this year’s national Climate Week for staff who regularly use their cars for work.
The free smarter driving courses aimed to teach staff how to drive more efficiently by adopting simple techniques that reduce their fuel consumption without increasing journey times. Techniques included using gears, acceleration and powers of anticipation to adopt a more fuel-efficient driving style.
In total 35 drivers completed the course which consisted of driving two circuits, once before the training and once after. The miles per gallon (MPG) was then measured for each circuit so the driver could see how much could be saved just by adopting the smart driving techniques.
Feedback was very positive, with most people surprised at just how much fuel could be saved with a little instruction and a bit of careful driving. The average improvement found was 8-12 mpg or up to 25%, but some drivers were even achieving up to 20-25 mpg.
Smarter driving courses aim to improve fuel efficiency and put into action can help staff and the Trust reduce annual vehicle fuel bills by up to 15%.
The Trust’s fire officer Ian Cass said, “The driving techniques demonstrated on the course were totally different to previous driver training, but the results speak for themselves. I put the lessons into practice and gained an extra 5mpg in my own car.”
Speaking about the driving sessions the lead for the Trust’s sustainability project Dawn Stephenson, said, "The smarter driving sessions were a cost-free initiative that gave staff the opportunity to reduce the Trust’s environmental impact significantly at the same time as having financial benefits for staff and the Trust. As the NHS accounts for one in 20 journeys in England it’s really important we look at how we can reduce the environmental impact of this. Travel is one of the easiest ways we can reduce energy and by making just small changes to our driving patterns we can cut carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) and fuel costs."
You can find out more about the Trust’s sustainability agenda online at www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/sustainability