Modeshift interviewed Honorary Member Michael Reardon from Derbyshire County Council, to find out about his varied work history and what he enjoys about working in sustainable travel.
How long have you been involved in sustainable travel?
I have had a varied work career, including: Practical conservation work in Iceland, a summer dry stone walling in the Lake District (a fantastic experience), another summer leading practical conservation projects in Nottinghamshire, plus 3 months tree planting in Victoria, Australia as part of a 12 month working holiday. I’ve also worked in retail – anyone remember Tandy Electronics? I also worked for a Groundwork Trust – Groundwork Colne Valley – for ten years, initially heading up a small scale contracts team on small scale landscaping and conservation projects. This changed into the ‘New Deal’, helping long term unemployed back into work through provision of NVQ’s in practical horticultural training. I also have a PGCE, and have dabbled in teaching Geography to Secondary school pupils. Since 2007, I have worked for Derbyshire County Council (DCC), initially as a School Travel Plan Coordinator as part of the TTSI (Travel to School Initiative), when grants were available to schools pre-2010. Since then I have remained at DCC, but my job role has changed. I no longer deal with schools. I comment on Travel Plans submitted through the planning process, and monitor those where a monitoring fee has been received. I deal with in day to day queries relating to staff travel initiatives, inc. cycle to work scheme, interest free loans, car share and similar.
What have you most enjoyed about your job?
I enjoy working with schools, teachers and pupils and helping to make a difference. In my day to day job, it’s the people I work with, who are all committed to what they’re doing and want to ensure the best outcome for whatever enquiry or project they are dealing with, for the people of Derbyshire. Its these people that make it worthwhile.
What are you working on now and what’s next?
I am part of a team working on a town wide project in Buxton. This is effectively a whole town travel plan, seeking to encourage sustainable and active travel in all its guises for everyone across town. The best part is working with the local community, who have been the real driving force behind the project. Up next is the completion of a comprehensive action plan, followed by a public consultation. Once complete, this will enable us to seek and / or engage with funding partners to bring the project to a reality. I am also involved in the DeCarbonise project, which provides grants to businesses to reduce their carbon impact. This will continue for another 2 years, and there is scope for me to be involved in enhancing the take up of electric vehicles within the business community, which should be interesting.
What do you like about being a member of Modeshift?
Modeshift membership – the feeling of being part of a team of peers, who are all doing their best in often challenging circumstances. The Annual Conventions are always something to look forward to