E-bike Cycle to Work scheme in new era of green commutes
10 June 2019
A refreshed Cycle to Work scheme will make it easier for employers to provide cycles and equipment including e-bikes worth over £1,000.
To promote healthier journeys to work and to reduce environmental pollution, the 1999 Finance Act introduced an annual tax exemption, which allows employers to loan cycles and cyclists' safety equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit. The exemption was one of a series of measures introduced under the Government's Green Transport Plan.
Since then employers have been encouraged to get their workforces cycling through loan and pooled cycle schemes, and now the Government has ‘ushered in’ a new era of green commutes with e-bike Cycle to Work scheme.
Every week is a ‘something’ week and this week it is Bike Week, an annual celebration to showcase cycling, delivered by Cycling UK. Bike Week is here to inspire people all over the UK to give cycling a try. Riding a bike can easily be a part of everyday life and as part of Bike Week, the government is refreshing guidance to help to increase the use of e-bikes to help tackle congestion, speed up commutes and cut travel costs.
E-bikes have an integrated motor that helps a cyclist pedal, allowing them to reach speeds of up to 15.5 mph in the UK. They are seen as a game changer for their potential to make it easier for older or less fit people to make cycling a part of their commute.
Cycling Minister Michael Ellis announced the refreshed scheme, which could help many more commuters turn to greener journeys using e-bikes, 70,000 of which were sold in the UK last year.
The refreshed guidance will make it easier for employers to provide bicycles and equipment including e-bikes worth over £1,000, by making it clear that FCA authorised third party providers are able to run the scheme on their behalf.
As well as boosting air quality and reducing emissions, the refreshed guidance announced today could also make daily commutes cheaper. A recent survey of 2,000 commuters (commissioned by Evans Cycles) estimated that by switching from car, bus, tube or train to e-bikes, commuters could save an average of £7,791 over 5 years.
Through the Cycling and walking investment strategy, which outlines the government’s ambition to make cycling and walking a natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of longer journeys by 2040, the government will invest around £2 billion on active travel over the course of this Parliament - doubling spending per head compared to the last Spending Review period.
The ‘refreshed guidance’ that is referred to is somewhat elusive by its absence as it does not appear to have published on GOV.UK yet, but when we catch sight of it, we shall, of course, share the information.