Residents and visitors tracking their active travel in Warwick District have saved over 34,000kg in CO2 emissions by participating in the Choose How You Move in Warwick District challenge.
The challenge runs until Monday 8 August and is completely free to join and participate in. It aims to encourage residents across the district to get active and choose a sustainable means of travel when out and about anywhere in the district - whether in their local area or when visiting and supporting the town centres.
Participants earn ‘BetterPoints’ for each sustainable journey they make, which can be converted to high street vouchers to redeem in favourite big name or independent shops such as Smithery or Torry’s Hardware in Warwick. Alternatively, points can be donated to a range of charities including Warwickshire Pride and The Myton Hospices.
Launched in January 2021, the challenge has so far seen over 600 users rack up an impressive 142,000 miles in sustainable travel, saving the equivalent of 340 return flights from London to Paris in carbon emissions. Over 2 million points have been earned by participants so far, worth over £2,000 in redeemable vouchers.
The challenge is delivered by Warwick District Council in partnership with BetterPoints, an award-winning behaviour change technology. It is funded by Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and Warwick District Council in association with the Council providing venues for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls and Para Bowls and Cycling Road Race events.
The initiative complements the District Council’s aims to encourage active communities, improve air quality, and support town centres and the local economy. Users of the BetterPoints app also benefit from a boost to their health and fitness by monitoring their levels of physical activity through the app.
Councillor Alan Rhead, Cabinet member for Climate Change, said: “I’m pleased to see the results that this incentive has had so far. It’s clear to see that choosing sustainable travel, even in place of one or two trips you would normally make by car, can make a big difference to the climate as well as your own health and wellbeing.
“The challenge also provides a unique opportunity for both visitors and businesses. Choosing to travel sustainably can improve your health as well as others by actively reducing emissions in the district.
“For businesses, it’s a chance to entice customers, both old and new, through their doors with bespoke offers and incentives to encourage active travel and generate that extra and much needed business.”
Local businesses are encouraged to visit https://chym.betterpoints.uk/page/local-retailers to find out more about the free-to-join scheme and sign up to support it.
Sarah Windrum, Chair of CWLEP, said: “Helping to create a green sustainable future is at the core of CWLEP’s Strategic Reset Framework to encourage the green recovery across our area and increase the use of zero-carbon modes of transport.
“As well as improving people’s health through increasing cycling or walking to work or leisure activities, this innovative scheme is giving a vital boost to charities whose fundraising targets have been affected by the pandemic and high street shops as users claim their vouchers and increase footfall in the Warwick District. It is a win-win in every aspect.”
To start earning rewards, residents just need to download the BetterPoints app from the App Store or Google Play, register and join the programme.
One of the scheme’s ‘Ditch the Car Star’ winners, which rewards users for swapping car trips for more sustainable travel, explained how the app enabled them to literally ditch their car completely.
Laura from Leamington said: “I would use the car for shopping, visiting friends, and going places where access by public transport was more difficult. I decided to give my car away and work out how to do almost all my travel without it.
“I love the simplicity of the app, and that you get points for even the shortest walk. I have enjoyed donating my points to plant trees for the National Trust, which is a real ‘feel good’ choice.
“It has encouraged me to walk more, and to find more reasons to get back out on my bike.”
To join the scheme and sign up, visit https://chym.betterpoints.uk/