Making cycling to work easy: Meet Lee Ashworth, Workplace Environmental and Safety Compliance Manager at npower in Leeds

We caught up with Lee Ashworth, Workplace Environmental and Safety Compliance Manager at npower, to hear about the benefits of becoming more bike friendly and what he’s learned along the way.

Two men and a bike outside npower office
npower employees Lee Ashworth and Adrian Cromwell

npower’s office in Leeds is on Limewood Approach, Seacroft, just beyond the most eastern tip of the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway - our award-winning 23km segregated route, which connects two of Yorkshire’s major cities. 

As a CityConnect Bike Friendly Business, npower has received expert advice and support to make it more cycling friendly. 

Thanks to our £5,000 grant, employees at the Leeds office have benefitted from improved bike parking, alongside new facilities funded by the company, including showers, lockers, a drying cabinet and a bike maintenance station.

We caught up with Lee Ashworth, Workplace Environmental and Safety Compliance Manager at npower, to hear about the benefits of becoming more bike friendly and what he’s learned along the way. 

All of this work started due to the demand for car parking on site but it’s become about so much more than just reducing that demand. 

We’ve taken a three-pronged approach to changing people’s travel habits, working with our colleagues in our occupational health and health and safety departments.

We know encouraging more of our employees to cycle and walk to work increases people’s health and wellbeing, putting our employees in the best position to do a good job - it’s a win-win for us all.

Lee Ashworth Workplace Environmental and Safety Compliance Manager at npower in Leeds

Making it easy

From the outset there’s been a huge focus on communications, asking people what they need to consider cycling to work and, importantly, listening to what they have to say and planning our facilities accordingly.

We’ve given our employees everything they need to change the way they travel, we’ve made it easy and you can’t underestimate the importance of doing that. 

It’s the simple things that make a difference, such as making sure the showers and lockers are at the same end of the building as the bike parking, that people have access to somewhere they can dry their clothes or mend a puncture. 

Alongside this, we’ve run events with CityConnect promoting the benefits of cycling to work, our Cycle to Work scheme, route information, and how people can access cycle training and bike maintenance sessions.

We also have a page on our intranet site for people to access all of this information, as well as details about our on-site cycling group and online cycle challenges – everyone loves a competition. 

Lee’s advice to other organisations?

Make the most of all the support you can get. 

I’m an Environmental and Safety Compliance Manager, I’m not someone who knows about cycling to work - there’s only so much I can do and having that professional support paid dividends. 

The team’s expertise around the barriers people face and how these can be overcome is invaluable, and the conversations they had with employees has made the penny drop in some cases. 

For example, we had one person here who was driving to work, driving home again and then driving to the gym. 

A member of the CityConnect team asked whether she had thought about cycling to work instead of driving to sit on a stationary bike at the gym and now she does just that. 

It’s these kinds of conversations which can be the difference between someone making a lasting change or ploughing on with the same old habits. 

Sunrise in Rounday Park – you don’t get that in the car: Meet Adrian Cromwell, Procurement Specialist at npower

Adrian Cromwell