COLCHESTER Hospital has revealed its strategy to increase sustainable transport use to the site and reduce the facility’s carbon footprint.

East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, has commissioned Lawson Planning Partnership to review the hospital’s travel plan.

An action plan has been drawn up to increase sustainable transport usage to and from the hospital for staff and patients.

Ideas include a shuttle bus for staff between Colchester and Ipswich hospitals, Essex County Council’s Park and Ride buses visiting the hospital site, more publicity for the Park and Ride, running cycling courses for staff and improving pedestrian routes.

Mark Finch, deputy director of estate at the trust, said: “We recognise the role we have to play at the trust as one of the largest employers in the eastern region around sustainable transport and we are committed to encouraging our staff, patients and visitors to move from single car use to more sustainable forms of travel, including public transport, cycling or walking, to get to our hospitals.

“We appreciate this isn’t always possible or appropriate for everyone, but we will continue to work on this in the coming months and years to reduce our carbon footprint and provide more sustainable travel options for the future.”

Data from a staff survey conducted in May, which 292 people responded to, shows 30 per cent fewer staff are driving to work at Colchester Hospital compared with 2016 - from 83 per cent down to 53 per cent.

Most of the new non-drivers have taken up sustainable transport options like walking, which has doubled from 6 per cent to 12 per cent, and public transport, which 15 per cent staff now use.

The number of staff cycling to work has more than tripled too from 3 per cent in 2016, to ten per cent this year.

Some of the change could be down to well-documented staff parking problems at the hospital’s Turner Road site which were compounded when permit rules changed last year.

The new needs-based system means the hospital only has designated parking places for around 1,000 of its 3,500 staff.

However, last week the hospital revealed plans for a new £2 million car park extension to help alleviate the issue.