The Zero Emissions Network (ZEN) launched in Hackney in 2012, with the aim of helping local businesses to reduce their impact on air quality. Realising that this was a cross-boundary issue – air pollution travels! – ZEN quickly expanded to include the nearby boroughs of Islington and Tower Hamlets.
ZEN offers grants of up to £2,000 to help businesses go green. This money could be used to encourage cycling to work, or make a large buy like an electric van.
An invisible crisis
Inner city air pollution is a problem we need to take seriously. More than 9,500 people die per year from pollution-related issues. It’s an invisible public health crisis that can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, and is a serious threat to the health of pregnant women and their babies. Air pollution can even inhibit lung development in children.
So how can ZEN help you? PW’s Atelier 10 has worked with ZEN to organise bike checkups in the courtyard with Dr Bike, who can fix small problems on the spot and get your wheels ready for the open road. They also offer energy audits, where a member visits your business to assess things like heating, lighting and water use and suggests small changes that could make a big difference (and £250 is available to help each business make the change!). It could be something as small as swapping halogen lightbulbs for LEDs.
If you have cyclists on your team, why not apply for up to £2,000 to install showers or lockers, or buy some electric bikes, and encourage others to switch to two wheels?
Businesses are also able to try a cargo bike, an electric bike or van for free for 2 weeks, and subsidies are available if you then decide to buy one. The same thing applies if your business uses a moped for deliveries, and you can get £200 cash to help you buy a green replacement.
ZEN also works with electric taxi companies (so there’s no excuse to take a petrol- or diesel-fuelled cab!), and it’s £2,000 grants can even be used as credit for car clubs.
Applications are now open for grants of up to £2,000 to encourage staff to get to work in a way that doesn’t impact the environment. To find out more about ZEN and the initiatives they support, have a look at their website, or watch the video below.