10 June 2016

Winner announced for the 2016 Eurostar Ashden award for Sustainable Travel

Global organisation, Bridges to Prosperity, has beaten off strong competition from sustainable travel initiatives across the world to win the 2016 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel.
Chosen for its innovative sustainable travel project, this year’s winner will be rewarded £20,000 in prize money to invest in their scheme and expand in other networks.
Bridges to Prosperity is a global initiative that provides access to healthcare, education and markets by teaching communities how to build footbridges over impassable rivers, in partnership with organisations and professionals.
The team have built 180 bridges in the developing world over the past 14 years in remote rural areas where the shortage of river crossings forces people to walk much further than they need to. Bridges to Prosperity not only builds bridges in countries like Rwanda, Peru and Timor-Leste but also teaches communities how to build and maintain them. To date, their work has helped more than 800,000 people get easier access to healthcare, education and employment.
Now in their fifth year, the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel celebrate the achievements of pioneering travel initiatives across the globe, which encourage people to adopt more sustainable ways of travelling, helping improve quality of life whilst reducing congestion, pollution, and CO₂ emissions.
In addition to the prize money, winners are offered a package of benefits including a platform to promote their work; a short film showcasing their sustainable travel scheme, introductions to policymakers, potential funders and investors, and access to the prestigious Ashden Alumni network.
Luke Ervine, Environment and Energy General Manager of Eurostar, said:
“We’ve been impressed by the exceptionally high calibre of award entries this year and are delighted to announce Bridges To Prosperity as the winner. By helping isolated communities build bridges to improve access to schools, healthcare, trade and so much more, it is easy to see how this project is helping change the lives of all those communities involved.
We hope that by celebrating the most innovative sustainable travel initiatives, we encourage more people to adopt environmentally friendly modes of transport, and put sustainable travel in the spotlight.”
The Ashden judging panel said; “Bridges to Prosperity gets to the heart of sustainable travel. It is amazing the difference that footbridges are making to so many people in rural communities. The transformational impact of their work makes for truly wonderful and heart-warming stories.  Imagine a community which is ordinarily divided during the rainy season and the difference that something as simple as a footbridge can make in bringing people together.” 

The Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel is part of Eurostar’s Community and Environment programme to reduce the business’ impact on the environment and encourage people to switch to more sustainable modes of transport. Since 2007, Eurostar has made substantial progress towards a ‘ten point plan’ to reduce consumption, source responsibly and recycle, and has successfully reduced CO₂ emissions per traveller journey by 15%.
For high-resolution imagery from the ceremony, a short video and more information about the winner, please visit https://www.ashden.org/winners/bridges16
To discover more about Eurostar’s Tread Lightly programme, visit http://www.eurostar-csr.com/en 

Notes to editors
About Eurostar
  • Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
  • The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph.  Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 150 million passengers between London and the Continent.  Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet. The new e320 will carry around 900 passengers at speeds of up to 320kph.
  • Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR. LCR’s holding was transferred to the Treasury in 2014, and sold by the UK government to a consortium comprising Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure on 28th May 2015.
  • Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe’s leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
  • Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies.  Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel’s biggest customer.
About Ashden
  • The Ashden Awards were set up in 2001 to champion practical, local energy solutions that cut carbon, protect the environment, reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. Since the Ashden Awards were founded in 2001, Ashden has rewarded 180 enterprises in the UK and around the world which so far have collectively improved the lives of 47 million people, saving more than 9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. www.ashden.org
  • Broadcast-quality footage is available on request.  Clips and photos from the Awards ceremony which takes place on 9 June will also be available on request from 10 June 2016. 
  • Funders of the 2016 Ashden Awards include The Berkeley Group, Citi, Eurostar, Impax Asset Management, Grosvenor, UK aid, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the IKEA Foundation, and the Waterloo Foundation. 
For more information:
Eurostar Press Office 
020 7843 5500