Portsmouth motorists urged: Get out of your car

13/5/2011 (CO)''Jane Barry works for Key Recruitment in Commercial Road, Portsmouth and will be taking part in the Big Green Commuter Challenge in May 2011.''Picture: Sarah Standing (111761-3676)
13/5/2011 (CO)''Jane Barry works for Key Recruitment in Commercial Road, Portsmouth and will be taking part in the Big Green Commuter Challenge in May 2011.''Picture: Sarah Standing (111761-3676)
M27. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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WHEN Jane Barry let the train take the strain she had no idea what it would unleash.

It was a year ago when she decided to ditch her car for a week and commute to Portsmouth by rail.

She and her work colleagues all took part in last year’s Big Green Commuter Challenge and the habit has stuck.

So, from today and for the rest of this week they and dozens of other workers in the city and across the wider Portsmouth area are going green in attempt to reduce their carbon emissions.

Jane, 44, is the operations and human resources manager for recruitment agency Key Recruitment in Commercial Road.

She said: ‘This time last year I was living at Southbourne [near Emsworth] and it made real sense for me to try catching the train to work instead of driving.

‘Long after the challenge week was over I carried on using the train whenever I could.

‘It was a far less stressful way to get to work and I found I could get things done on the train too as well being far more environmentally-friendly.’

Since then she has moved to Copnor, Portsmouth, and bought a bike. ‘Now I’m taking every opportunity I can to cycle to work,’ she added.

The firm won last year’s challenge in the small organisation category of the contest which is run by Portsmouth City Council and supported by Havant, Gosport and Fareham councils.

Jane added: ‘This week all 18 of us in the office are taking part again, but the seed that was sown last year has continued anyway.

‘Since then some have opted not to use their car for one day a week and use public transport to make their calls during the day. It means less wear and tear on their car, means they’re not spending so much on petrol and costing the business less in mileage expenses.’

The annual Big Green Commuter Challenge runs all this week and is designed to encourage people to use alternative transport to get to work.

Participating organisations are encouraging staff to walk, cycle, car-share, use public transport – anything to cut the number of cars on the roads and their emissions.

This is the ninth year the gauntlet has been thrown down by the city council.

Amanda Morris, the authority’s travel plan officer, said the idea is catching on.

She said: ‘Last year 1,078 people from 32 organisations took part who saved more than 78,500 car miles and nearly 31,000kg of emissions.’