Debbie Owen, our Travel Plan Co-ordinator, has received a prestigious national award for her work to help create a greener shopping environment at Meadowhall.
Debbie was crowned the winner of a ‘British Land Excellence Awards’ in a glittering ceremony held in London’s Leadenhall Building. The annual awards are held by British Land, owner of Meadowhall, to reward colleagues who go above and beyond in their roles.
It’s Debbie’s job to help our staff find the most convenient and sustainable way of getting to work.
Debbie, why are people’s travel plans important when it comes to sustainability?
The distance our staff drive to get to work has a big effect on the overall carbon emissions of a centre like Meadowhall. We’re strongly committed to minimising our carbon footprint, so thinking about how we can get people travelling to work in a more energy efficient way is central to the challenge.
How do you go about influencing travel decisions?
It’s all about giving people the facilities to make sustainable choices and making sure they know those facilities exist.
Driving can seem like the easy option so people don’t always think to investigate the alternatives. I try to make that process as easy as possible, and often we find that public transport, car sharing or cycling is actually more convenient or cost effective for them.
I work with regional transport companies to secure favourable deals for our staff, campaign to secure funding for sustainable travel initiatives, and act as the main point of contact for store managers and staff who want advice on the best travel plans for them and their team.
What specific achievements led to you winning a British Land Excellence Award?
I’ve worked at Meadowhall for just over 12 months and in that time I’ve negotiated 760 free monthly travel passes and 300 day tickets – that’s a total of over 64 years’ worth of free travel for our staff.
I also secured funding to establish a cycle hub – making it much easier for those who want to ride to work and park their bikes – and have secured funding for a bus service for staff working over the Christmas period, working with partners including First Group and Stagecoach Supertram.
Sustainability is a passion of mine, and it’s fantastic to have been recognised for this award. I know my family are very proud!