AN INCREASING number of companies based at the Port of Southampton are encouraging their employees to get on their bikes thanks to the national Cycle to Work scheme.

At a meeting of the port’s Air Quality Forum, several businesses on the port described how they had successfully encouraged employees to swap their cars for two wheels – and there had been many major benefits.

DP World saw many employees take up the scheme and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Terminal said Cycle to Work had directly resulted in a nine percent decrease in absenteeism within their workforce.

Dave Hayden, HSEO manager at the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Terminal said: “Since the scheme started nine months ago, 18 per cent of our workforce have joined the scheme. The health benefits are obvious and there are so many of them, it is a bit of a no-brainer.

“There are also the financial benefits that can really mount up. The saving on fuel you can make over a year is substantial and the financial incentive is often enough to keep people cycling,” he said.

ABP launched its Cycle to Work scheme back in 2007.

The scheme allows for the cost to be spread over a 12-month period, and also provides savings on tax and National Insurance.