Heathrow Airport have appointed the world's first ever cycle officer who will focus on getting colleagues on their bikes and making cycle routes safer in the area.
Ali Jafarey is leading a project with the hope of getting the 16,500 local staff members within 5km of the airport peddling to work.
The partnership with Sustrans, a cycling charity, aims to improve riders' confidence on their bikes by making routes more accessible and training them to feel more comfortable riding.
Theo Panayi, Sustainable Travel Manager for Heathrow said: “We are looking forward to the partnership with Sustrans, which will make the airport’s cycle routes safer and more accessible, helping many of our 16,500 colleagues who live locally feel more confident about making the journey to the airport on their bikes.”
A west London cycling strategy to be drafted
In the first year, Sustrans and Heathrow will publish a cycle strategy, which will be drafted with local authorities.
According to Heathrow strategists, persuading colleagues to take up cycling is part of the airport’s campaign to reduce car journeys with just one passenger, as well as related congestion and emissions.
However, in a previous interview with getwestlondon, a colleague claimed the airport were not doing enough to tackle the "treacherous roads" when they released a video trying to promote cycling to work.
Lewis Cornwell, who pedals from Ashford to work at Terminal 4 each day, believes the film glosses over the difficulties
James Scott, Sustrans Programme Manager for Workplace Behaviour Change said: "Heathrow is the largest centre of employment in West London and is uniquely placed to deliver changes to the cycling experience our region."
Mr Scott added: "Our one year cycle partnership project will help make cycling to work the easy choice for staff, enabling them to travel more sustainable and ease congestion and emissions in local road networks.
"I look forward to seeing the changes that we create to deliver a great cycling experience, and improve employee wellbeing."
A study in February showed just one in 20 workers were cycling to Heathrow Airport who live 5km away , a figure which Heathrow's business resilience manager Ray Fitzgerald labelled "pretty disappointing".