Skip to content


Sustainable Travel Plan 2023-2028

Last updated: 27 June 2023

1. Introduction

As a multi-site organisation, the University of Gloucestershire takes seriously the need for effective travel planning as part of the delivery of its Estates Strategy 2022-2027. It has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, reflected in its Sustainability Strategy 2022-2027, which provides an inter-linked policy context for this Sustainable Travel Plan and for the aim of the organisation to support cost-effective and low carbon transport opportunities that also benefit the health and productivity of staff and students.

The University has adopted targets for minimising and reducing its carbon emissions in light of accelerating climate change, aiming towards a ‘net zero’ position by 2030 through the Carbon Net Zero Strategy. Those objectives include an aim to reduce overall carbon emissions impact of staff and student commuting journeys to and between campuses, , with a specific ‘scope 3 emissions’ target against this objective.

The policy framework and objectives around sustainable travel are aligned to the organisation’s formal commitments to environmental protection as part of accreditation against ISO 14001: 2015. Those duties extend to the wider stakeholder environment around the University, whereby this policy aims to support the carbon emissions reduction goals of the county of Gloucestershire and as one of its major employers to support wider goals to minimise pollution associated with travel and improve air quality.

The measures set out in this policy build upon improvements delivered through the Sustainable Travel Plan 2018-2022, including the establishment of annual monitoring and communication strategies on sustainable travel, low carbon travel measures in the major development works undertaken at Oxstalls Campus and Pittville Student Village, and infrastructural changes at other sites to provide for the needs of campus users.

2. Estate Setting

The University estate is set in a semi-rural area and the main teaching and residential campus locations within the region are focused at two urban centres in Cheltenham and Gloucester:

Approximately 8,000 students, split over four main campuses, are enrolled at the University in the 2022/2023 academic year, most attending at its campuses, with a low percentage currently studying via remote models. Student number growth plans suggest circa 10,000 students by the 2027/2028 academic year, with the expectation that existing sites will not see significant change in user patterns but the new City Campus in central Gloucester will be accommodating around 2,00 staff and students by this point

The measures outlined in this Sustainable Travel Plan take account of the institutional context, and will be responsive to expansions and space moves planned across the University’s estate during its time frame and aligned with the University’s wider ambitions as outlined in its Strategic Plan 2022-2027

3. Policy scope

This Sustainable Travel Plan applies to all campuses owned and managed by the University and in line with its scope of registration against ISO 14001:2015. The new City Campus development in Gloucester is referenced in relation to its planning phase as the campus is scheduled to open in 2024.

The scope of activities included in this Sustainable Travel Plan include:

The wider objectives of the Sustainable Travel Plan include the overall support to the university community to adopt lower carbon travel choices wherever feasible. In particular the University is more ambitious than sector benchmarking approaches such as the SOS-UK Carbon Targets ranking, in including the student commute within the scope of its target-setting, seeing this as an important material impact of its core activities and therefore part of its duty to address in response to climate change.

Home to university journeys of both UK and international students on arriving at university have not yet been part of the formal target setting within the University’s Carbon Net Zero Strategy.  Measurement has been carried out to establish and record a baseline position for future target-setting, as part of wider consideration of the carbon impacts associated with international recruitment activities that involve aviation-based travel. Decisions around target-setting for aviation-based travel related to home to university journeys may be reviewed periodically as policy develops.

The University operates multiple halls of residence sites across Gloucester and Cheltenham, including Pittville Student Village, Park Villas, Oxstalls Villas, Hardwick residences as well as Upper Quay and Ermin Hall in Gloucester. The residences operated on campus are important factors in planning infrastructural and facilities improvements, and alongside the private residences students use, are all part of the wider focus for engagement and communication around the broader benefits of low carbon and active travel, that underpin this Sustainable Travel Plan.

4. Objectives and targets

Our Carbon Net Zero Strategy 2021 – 2030 recognises the role played by staff and student travel in creating approximately 40% of the University’s total carbon emissions. The Sustainable Travel Plan therefore has a central aim of minimising this impact and reducing the emissions arising from operating a multi-site university.

The overarching targets and objectives to be applied in respect of all campus sites are to:

The specific SMART targets and interventions that can support these objectives are outlined in the delivery plan at section 7.

5. Governance and monitoring

The arrangements for delivery and oversight of the Sustainable Travel Plan enable the University to make strategic travel enhancements favourable to sustainability outcomes as part of continual improvement and on needs basis, using available internal or external funding opportunities. 

Overall governance is provided as part of effective performance measurement, against the objectives and targets of the ISO 14001: 2015 Environmental Management System. The Sustainability Operations Manager as the EMS Manager and strategic lead for the Carbon Net Zero Strategy 2021 – 2030 will provide appropriate analysis of carbon emissions impacts and progress against these targets. Performance against objectives will be reviewed at the annual Sustainability Performance Review and reported publicly in the Annual Sustainability Report.

Annual travel surveys have taken place since 2017 and enable clearer identification of issues and updated management information to guide target setting and review. Previous surveys supported the fulfilment of planning obligations for the Pittville Student Village in Cheltenham and the expansion of the Oxstalls campus in Gloucester, alongside bespoke surveys organised by the Estates Department.

Responsibility for implementation of campus and infrastructural improvements sits with the Estates Department, as the professional service with responsibility for delivery of the Estates Strategy. The Head of Facilities plays a specific role in the provision of appropriate services (e.g. local bus services) to support achievement of the objectives.

The Sustainable Travel Plan recognises the significant role played by the transition to flexible working and digital patterns of work and study, in the achievement of its objectives, and will continue to monitor linked changes in this area and in the move to ‘digital first’ travel choices for routine academic and business travel activities. A baseline measure has been recorded but the procurement and bookings processes for business travel in relation to emissions impacts needs to be reviewed to enable effective target-setting. Monitoring of expectations around the emissions arising from research activities from UKRI and relevant sector bodies will form part of the ongoing review of approaches to delivery on business travel emissions.

These mechanisms provide the means of monitoring the achievement of objectives and communicating progress to internal and external stakeholders. They also provide opportunities for dialogue and involvement of additional services and strategic leads within the University, to harness the University’s negotiating and purchasing power, for example with the Local Highways Authority and bus operators, to support the wider objectives of the Sustainable Travel Plan.

6. Engagement and communications

The involvement of site users and wider stakeholders is critical to the effectiveness of the objectives of this Sustainable Travel Plan. Promotion of available schemes and incentives, developments and improvements, as well as benefits of sustainable travel for wellbeing are important aspects of this.

The Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment, Student Services and Students’ Union will collaborate with the Sustainability team to deliver key communications, including:

7. Delivery Plan

1.Maintain annual monitoring and reporting of progress on SMART targets for low carbon travel i) 3% reduction of overall emissions by 2030 ii) 12% reduction of emissions per FTE by 20271.1 Deliver annual cross-campus survey
1.2 Report on performance against Net Zero and FTE targets in SPR and ASR exercises
1.3 Obtain data on future student number forecasts and housing distribution to inform emissions analysis
Semester 1 annually –   Sustainability Operations Manager
2.Ensure low carbon travel measures planned into major campus projects2.1 City Campus – associated planning requirementsEstates – Director of Estates
3.Maintain facilities at all sites to support low carbon travel choices3.1 Review and improve on needs, the basis provision of safe cycle storage and showers/lockers  Estates – Head of Facilities
4.Assess potential for mode change in long commute journeys9.1 Hold focus group to understand choices and opportunities for long term change in this key user groupSustainability Operations Manager
5.Maintain series of communications with staff and student users5.1 Routine annual start of year communications to all students on facilities, support and expectations for low carbon travel
5.2 Regular communication to staff and students on benefits and changes around low carbon travel
CMSR/Student Services/SU/ Sustainability
6.Liaise with local stakeholders to support opportunities for low carbon travel improvement6.1 Maintain involvement in Gloucestershire Active Business forum
6.2 Advise and support GCC Highways regarding local changes and opportunities e.g. e-scooters, regional cycling improvements including Gloucestershire Cycle Spine Route, bus service requirements of campus users
Sustainability Operations Manager
7.Provide guidance on low carbon travel good practice in research activities and bidding7.1 Develop guidance for use in bidding, related to setting and delivery on lower carbon approaches in academic travel
7.2 Develop good practice examples of academic and business travel decisions with advice from academic and staff teams
Director of Sustainability, University Funding Manager
8.Review needs and priorities on business travel8.1 Review methods and focus for target setting aligned to bookings process for trips and activities
8.2 Work with colleagues involved in planning field trips to provide guidance for field trip leaders, in liaison with academic services and teams
Procurement Manager, Sustainability Operations Manager, Director of Sustainability

Was this article helpful?