Make Heathrow a bigger hub airport – for cyclists
Push to encourage more staff to get to work on their bikes
FEWER than one in 20 Heathrow staff living within 5km of the airport cycle to work, it has emerged.
An estimated 16,500 of the airport’s 76,000 strong workforce live within that distance, yet Heathrow estimates only around 800 employees currently come by bike.
The figure was revealed as part of efforts by Heathrow to get more workers to ditch their cars and saddle up.
Increasing the proportion of workers cycling to and from the airport is a key plank of Heathrow’s commitment to reduce air pollution, which is one of the biggest obstacles to a third runway.
Heathrow’s business resilience manager Ray Fitzgerald stars in a new video highlighting the facilities available to staff wishing to cycle.
“Given we’re not in a hilly area I think the percentage of staff cycling to work is pretty disappointing,” said the 44-year-old.
“I think a lot of staff don’t realise the facilities available here, like showers, lockers and the Cycle Hub, which offers bikes, cycling equipment and free repairs for airport workers.
“The number of workers cycling has already increased by 45 per cent since the hub opened, and I’d like to see it pass the 1,000 mark this year and increase by 200 to 300 a year after that.”
Mr Fitzgerald says it takes him just 20 minutes to pedal from his home in Feltham to his desk at Heathrow, compared with about 25 minutes by bus and 30 minutes by car. He says he often passes colleagues sat in heavy traffic in their cars on his way home.
He said cycle routes into the airport are generally quite good, but that extending the long-awaited Cycle Superhighway 9 from Hounslow to Heathrow along the A4 – as supported by Hounslow Council – would make a big difference.
However he poured cold water on the idea previously mooted by Hounslow Council that people heading off on short breaks might cycle to the airport. He said this was unlikely unless they were taking their bikes with them for a cycling holiday.
Asked whether he was worried as a cyclist about the high levels of air pollution around Heathrow, where air quality at some sites is currently in breach of EU limits, he said he did not feel the need to wear a mask.
He also said he generally felt safe cycling on the roads around the airport, though he understood this could be a concern for less confident cyclists.
He said he hoped improvements in central London, where more fully segregated cycle lanes are planned, would eventually radiate out to the suburbs.
The number of workers cycling has already increased... since the hub opened and I’d like to see it pass the
1,000 mark this year”
n HUB AIRPORT: Heathrow’s business resilience manager Ray Fitzgerald stars in a new video highlighting the facilities available to airport staff wishing to cycle