London Travel Plans

Local Authorities now require that a Travel Plan (otherwise known as a Green Travel Plan) be submitted with a planning application for many types of development in order to ensure that the new business or facility actively looks at ways of minimising traffic impact.

This will usually aim to reduce single occupancy car journeys by staff travelling to work. In some cases a customer travel is also included within the document.

London Travel Plans required by Local Authorities within the Greater London Area must be written in accordance with Transport for London and the Mayor of London’s specific Travel Plan Guidance.

There are also a group of west London Boroughs who deal with Travel Planning together under an umbrella organisation called Westtrans and Travel Plans in those Boroughs are dealt with by Westtrans officers.

All London Boroughs are aiming for the same result’ to cut traffic and congestion within the city and reduce the need for parking by encouraging staff (and sometimes customers) to use public transport, walk or cycle. The art when writing a Travel Plan is to demonstrate you are helping to achieve these goals without committing your client to expensive measures both short and long term.

This requirement has been in place for a number of years now and the content and quality of Travel Plans, particularly in London, are now given much more scrutiny than in the past. Often within London, a developer is seeking to reduce parking on their site or in some cases provide no parking at all and in these situations a bespoke, practical and well written plan can be key to achieving planning permission.

The challenge in all cases is to balance the commercial demands of the business whilst formulating a robust and detailed plan which is frequently key to securing planning permission. For example I recently dealt with a new hotel with zero on-site parking. This meant that both staff and guest travel to the site needed to be actively addressed through a range of specific measures to discourage car travel.

In contrast I recently dealt with a hotel which had free on site parking. In this instance I had to devise a travel plan which demonstrated active steps to reduce the demand for those parking spaces over the initial period of 5 years.

Both sites were covered by the same overall London-wide policies but the individual site issues dictated that the plans were very different. In both instance I managed to reach a solution which met my client’s commercial needs and satisfied the Local Authorities’ requirements.

The different approach and requirements in each case demonstrates that a template is a misnomer. In my opinion the templates that are available are likely to result in clients being signed up to costly and impractical measures. In terms of cost, as the plans are monitored for at least 5 years, the management costs going forward can also be significant if not considered at an early stage.

In my experience travel plans prepared at the application stage are all too often a standardised document which is not fully considered, with the result that developers inadvertently agree to a range of measures in order to get planning approval. Those measures may be inappropriate, expensive to implement and difficult or costly to monitor.

The examples cited above demonstrate the importance of producing a plan which is specific to the site and to the end user, not least to prevent the added cost of having to re-writing the document. In both of these cases the original developer obtained agreement to a draft which, if implemented, would have resulted in significant costs for the end-user.

In order to meet the requirements of the client and to satisfy the Local Authorities it was necessary to re-write the documents in a way which delivered practical and value for money measures for my client but also satisfied the requirements of the Local Authorities. I like to think that my experience in this area helped to achieve a result which all were happy with.

Green Travel Plan Advice

A Green Travel Plan should deliver economic, practical and easy to manage measures both now and in the future. The majority of individuals that usually require a green travel plan are commercial developers and businesses. A plan should typically be:

economic to implement ‘day one’
cost effective for future management
include practical, well thought out measures that work

What’s the difference between Green and Workplace travel plans?

A Green Travel Plan (also typically known as a Workplace Travel Plan) is an obligation imposed by local authorities through the planning process typically by way of panning condition attached to a planning consent or by a S.106 agreement. It may also be introduced as a requirement during the application process.

In addition a Travel Plan is often a requirement of a BREEAM assessment process.

The Green Travel Plan sets out a suite of actions and measures intended to promote travel to the site by sustainable transport methods such as bicycle, bus or train rather than private car.

So I have a Green Travel Plan, what happens if I don’t follow it?

Most local authorities will require occupiers to monitor the effectiveness of the plan to ensure measures are being implemented and targets set in the plan are being met. The aim should be to demonstrate ongoing improvement.

Some local authorities now have sustainable travel officers whose sole duty is to promote sustainable travel and to monitor plans to ensure compliance.

Ultimately the local authority does have the power to take Enforcement action against you if you are not implementing and monitoring your plan. The council has the power to issue of a breach of condition notice to require you to comply with the requirements which could ultimately lead to prosecution and fine if you still fail to comply.

What Actions and Measures do the plans typically include?

They are sometimes produced to include high cost and complicated measures such as staff showers, public transport information and ticketing systems, subsidised public transport, cycle parking and staff loan schemes. Whilst it’s important to be mindful of the commercial necessity to obtain a consent, more simpler and cost effective measures should be considered as well, such as; free internet access to travel guides; website links to local travel information; car sharing schemes and on site maps of bus and train stations.

A plan should be produced to minimise the cost to the clients of delivering their plan whilst balancing this against the local planning policy requirements and need for a consent in a timely manner.

What will my Green Travel Plan cost?

Every plan is different based on the local policy requirements, the site constraints and the commercial pressures. Each should ideally be produced on a site specific basis. It is important to appreciate that a well considered and written plan allied to skilled consultants negotiating terms with the local authority will save you more money than you will ever spend on preparing it. Conversely, one poorly written will cost you money ‘day one’ and for many years to come as you continue to spend money and management time on costly and unwieldy measures.

Tips on Choosing The Best Ottawa Heating and Cooling Repair Service Contractor

The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning or HVAC systems are getting more sophisticated nowadays. Generally, when you run into problems with your air conditioning and heating system, you need to call a reliable service technician who is knowledgeable enough with the most up-to-date diagnostic equipment. But with the number of furnace companies in Ottawa today, how could you be able to know which one to choose?

Here are some tips that you need to take into consideration when picking the best Ottawa heating and cooling repair service provider.

TSSA Certification

The first thing you should check before you consider hiring the service technician or company is the TSSA certification. In general, only those who are highly talented, qualified, and TSSA certified technicians are able to deliver high quality and timely service.

If you hire a TSSA certified technician, you can be sure that he can handle your HVAC system very well. Certified technicians are trained and skillful in handling all products and brands of HVAC and they can even modify and upgrade your old system. Also verify if they are certified by the governing authorities to do repair and maintenance works both for commercial and residential gas, air conditioning and ventilation.


Check if the technician has already handled an HVAC brand like yours. You can ask for a list of the technician or the company’s past clients. You can also randomly pick and contact two or more clients and then ask about their past experience with the central air conditioner repair and maintenance service provider. If the response of the clients is great, then such company or technician may be a good candidate. However, if most of the clients have said something negative about the service provider, then it may be practical if you look for another one.

Good Listener

A good service provider is also a good listener. Choose a technician who is willing to carefully listen to you and to your concerns. Pick the one who is also willing to cheerfully answer any question you have without hesitation. A service technician who is knowledgeable and skillful enough about the industry and the different HVAC brands or products can be able to answer all your concerns about your HVAC system. One of the primary jobs of the service provider is to make you and your entire family at ease. The technician should try his best to handle all of your concerns to make sure that you are comfortable.

Service Guarantee

Because it may be impossible to find the most reliable service provider at one glance, you must ask if the technician provides a guarantee to the services rendered.

Confident HVAC contractors usually offer service guarantee not only to build trust but also to give their clients peace of mind.


The technician must possess necessary knowledge and skills to work with different kinds of households and to provide the best solution to every HVAC concern that the homeowners may have to ensure optimal comfort. He must be able to understand your specific home needs so you can both come

Jack Athwani, is an AdWords certified partner and has been delivering PPC management and SEO services to all the small to large businesses, since last 7 years.

Signs That Your HVAC System Needs To Be Replaced

Although each HVAC system is unique and there isn’t always a set standard for when a system has to be replaced, there are a number of signs that you can look for that indicates a need for replacement. This option has to be considered, especially if a trusted technician already recommends that you do so since there is a big chance that you will only be spending large amounts of money to have your HVAC unit repaired frequently.

What are the signs you have to look out for as proof that you need to have your HVAC system replaced immediately? Read them below:

• You’ve had your HVAC for more than 10 years now. Although HVAC experts say that some systems can work for as long as 20 years, these units still lose their efficiency over time, especially when compared to the newer models out on the market today. Generally, the older an HVAC is, the more it will cost you to use and maintain it.

• There is an increase in your bills for HVAC repair expenses. If you seem to be calling some HVAC technicians to repair your system more frequently than before, you are incurring a lot of expenses for these works. And if your HVAC is costing you quite a bit for repairs, it may be time to consider getting a new unit. It would certainly be more cost-efficient on your part if you invest in a new system that won’t break down frequently instead of paying large amounts of money for recurring repair services.

• It has become too noisy. An HVAC system that makes a lot of loud noises usually means that it is improperly sized to carry the heating and cooling load in the home or building. It could also mean that there are some other mechanical problems. In general, an older unit will not run as quietly as a newer model.

• It is having a tough time keeping up with your heating and cooling needs. When an HVAC unit becomes older, it also becomes less efficient. If you’ve had your home expanded or there is an increase in the occupants, your heating and cooling unit may not be capable of handling the extra workload. In such instances, there really is a need to replace your unit.

• The air quality in your home has gone down. If you can’t seem to get rid of the dust in your home, it may mean that the filters on the HVAC system have to be changed. However, if the air quality is diminished, it can also be due to the unit being too small to handle the air exchange. It can also be a sign of an aging system.

Five Essential Commercial HVAC System Maintenance Procedures

Having a well-maintained business is one of the best ways of steering a company in the right direction. It is imperative to invest in a quality HVAC system to maintain optimal temperatures in an office or store. It should be installed by a professional for maximum utility. Also, it should be maintained periodically to promote its efficiency.

Here are five essential commercial HVAC maintenance procedures that should be done periodically.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Advancement in technology has made it possible for electronics companies to make programmable thermostats that are more efficient and reliable than traditional ones. One of the benefits of investing in one of these new models is that it eliminates the need to change the temperature settings continuously. That is, staff members can set a constant temperature easily. Doing so will, in turn, prevent wasting energy and enhance the business’ sustainability.

Ensure Cooling and Heating Ducts are Properly Sealed

Making sure that the heating and cooling ducts are properly sealed will improve the efficiency of the heating, cooling, and ventilation system by more than 20%. They can be sealed using blow-in duct sealant, mastic, or foil tape. The seal acts as an insulation material and prevents the loss of heat as the air flows through the ducts. To get the best results, focus on sections of the building that are unprotected, such as unheated storage spaces.

Clean Regularly

Over time, dust and other forms of debris accumulate inside the system’s internal compartments and at the surface. This debris can lead to overheating and other malfunctions that will, in the end, reduce efficiency and the ability of the HVAC to heat and cool the rooms. Consider hiring an expert who can dismantle and clean the internal and external parts completely. Make sure that the expert uses the right cleaning agents, as some contain harsh compounds that can corrode some of the internal parts.

Upgrade the System

Every day, new heating and cooling products are released into the market. One of the best ways of improving the overall efficiency is by replacing the old parts with new ones. A heat pump that is more than five years old should be replaced with a new Energy Star-certified pump. Doing so will reduce the electricity bill by up to 20%. The new retrofit rooftop units have digital economizer controls and sensors that bring in ventilated air only when needed. This controlled ventilation will make the building energy-efficient.

Clean and Change Filters

Inhalation of contaminated air causes many common respiratory diseases. Dirty filters affect the indoor air quality negatively. Based on this fact, cleaning the filters or replacing them with new ones will go a long way to creating a safe and conducive working environment.

Carrying out the above maintenance will increase the efficiency and durability of the entire system and potentially enhance the productivity of the employees. Make sure that the replacement parts used are genuine to get the expected positive results.