Two people stand by entrance to Harlow Carr, red bus with 'Harrogate' visible in background.

RHS Harlow Carr call on visitors to make the journey to the site ‘part of the day out’ as they offer a 30% entry discount for those arriving car free.

In September 2021, the RHS published their Sustainability Strategy, which aims to advise, support, encourage and promote a message of sustainability to Britain’s 30 million+ gardeners and the wider public.

Here, Chris Trolley Sustainable Travel Executive at RHS Harlow Carr tells us about the Sustainability Strategy and working with #TeamModeshift:

‘In line with the Strategy’s aim of becoming climate positive by 2030, our travel plan embodies the long-term strategy for reducing single occupancy private car travel to RHS Garden Harlow Carr amongst both staff and visitors, and resultantly reducing the Garden’s CO2 emissions. In March 2022, the RHS hired their first Sustainable Travel Executive to implement, manage and oversee the travel plan.

Our ongoing objective is to make sustainable travel to RHS gardens and shows easy and accessible for all, below are three initiatives we have undertaken to support this:

  1. Funded the extension of a public bus service during the school summer holidays in 2023 to serve RHS Garden Harlow Carr’s closest bus stop every half hour, 7 days a week.
  2. Provision of bus and rail season ticket loan and cycle to work schemes to all staff.
  3. We offer a 30% discount on garden entry for visitors who leave the car at home and travel to us by public transport, bike, or on foot!

Modeshift STARS has allowed us to collate and record our aims and objectives, survey stats, travel initiatives, and targets all in one place. The accreditation holds us accountable to our plan and ensures we are constantly working to improve and work our way up accreditation levels. Support from both Modeshift and North Yorkshire Council when requested has been very helpful in executing plans.’

2022 vs 2023 staff commuting stats:

  • Single occupancy car reduced by 10%
  • Car sharing increased by 4%
  • Walking increased by 6%

Visitor travel modes: car use reduced by 12% from 2021 to 2023.

What’s next

‘We are planning to install electric vehicle chargers at RHS Garden Harlow Carr to support and promote the uptake of electric cars amongst our staff and visitors, to aid in the reduction of our carbon footprint.

We are also partnering with The Harrogate Bus Company to run daily bus service from Harrogate bus station in the town centre to the garden’s closest bus stop. This will provide and consistent and reliable car-free option to visit the Garden year-round, that everyone can enjoy.

Modeshift Stars gives us a platform to illustrate all the work we are doing around sustainable travel. It has been incremental in liaising with North Yorkshire Council and as a result has developed a fruitful relationship.’

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