Recent heatwaves and wildfires worldwide have meant the planet’s climate challenges have rarely been far from the headlines.
What’s more, the UK government has committed all UK schools to being zero carbon as soon as 2030. (This is part of a strategy published in April 2022 following its launch the previous November at COP26 in Glasgow.)
Proposals include plans for every school to have a nominated sustainability lead by 2025 (who will have appropriate ‘carbon literacy’ training). All schools will also have to report their emissions via a standardised framework by 2024, with smart meters installed to make this data as accurate as possible. There are further pledges to end single-use plastics, create yearly progress reports and launch a new climate literacy survey, alongside a different model for assessing sustainability.
Finally, the paper outlines fresh targets for schools between 2025 and 2035 as part of the ‘Let’s Go Zero’ initiative. Schools, staff, children and parents are urged to work together to be zero carbon by 2030. Seven policy actions described include training, adapting and retrofitting school estates and improving building specs, among others.
How cycle sheds can help you meet these aims
Clearly, encouraging biking promotes a healthy lifestyle. But facilitating cycling with proper bike storage also enhances sustainability at your school in these ways:
- Reducing short car journeys: Many believe that longer drives are more environmentally damaging; in fact, the opposite is true. Car emissions systems typically take some five minutes to warm up and activate, meaning vehicles pollute most during that time. Cycle shelters give pupils and staff a clear motive to bike to school, especially where public transport isn’t convenient or even available. And with most families living near their schools, you generally shouldn’t need to drive there each day.
- Reducing demand for parking: This means cleaner air around your school, with less traffic congestion and fewer emissions at the busiest times of the school day, especially as many schools have limited parking anyway.
- You can use responsible sourcing for your cycle shed, including environmentally friendly materials (like timber) and construction practices.
- Bike sheds are also sustainable structures in that they can be built to last decades, are low-maintenance and you can disassemble them and relocate them as your school’s needs change. Providing shelter and protection from the elements and theft, they will make cycling to school far more appealing than a set of basic racks will.
Cycling to school in England is still pretty rare compared with other northern European countries, suggesting significant as-yet unmet potential.
Bike sheds installation at your school
Having proper bicycle storage is often cited as a reason for not getting to school (or indeed work) on two wheels. (According to one London council, a lack of secure facilities is the main reason given for not pedalling to classes.)
How can you make bike shelters more secure?
Making bike shelters secure so that students and parents feel comfortable leaving their bikes can be easily done.
- Ensure the bike shelters are in a secure but publicly visible location. This helps to deter potential theft
- Install locking gates on the shelter and offer bike locks for children to use.
- Encourage children to label their bikes with their names so their bike is not taken by someone else in error.
- If you can, avoid a ‘toast rack’ style bike rack where the hoops are connected by bars at the bottom. A bike thief can remove the bolts of the rack which then allows them to take all the bikes locked to that rack. Individual cycle hoops are a better and more secure solution.
- Ensure that there is visibility into the shelter from the outside, for example by using clear sheeting or mesh. This also helps to deter thieves.
At Kensington Systems, we have decades of experience in fitting these structures sustainably in different schools and workplaces. Our modular, lockable units offer incredible flexibility and security, plus a smart-looking appearance; equally, these units are expandable.
Get in touch with us today – and take a step closer to meeting your school’s sustainability goals.