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Plans to create a national network for the industry’s Wheels to Work scheme came a step nearer last month when Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) minister Richard Benyon described it as “a mainstream solution to rural transport problems” in a keynote speech at the Wheels to Work Association’s (W2WA) inaugural annual conference.

The minister, who said he was a big fan of Wheels to Work, said the scheme had the potential to provide local solutions to meet local requirements, adding “it ticks all the boxes for DEFRA’s rural priorities of economic growth, rural engagement and quality of life.” He concluded: “We want Wheels to Work to be a mainstream solution for transport problems.”

Launched last year with a government grant of £50,000, the W2WA will co-ordinate efforts to build a national network of centres where mopeds or lightweight motorcycles will be loaned or hired to people aged between 16 and 25 making it easier for them to get to work, training or college in areas where no public transport is available.

Steve Kenward, chief executive of the Motor Cycle Industry Association, told conference delegates, which included senior officials from the Department for Transport that Wheels to Work has been set a delivery target of providing transport for 12,000 people a year. “The motorcycle community has a phenomenal opportunity to support those in the transport help sector through these schemes and the potential to get 12,000 individuals to work,” he said.

Nicky Bassett-Powell, national co-ordinator of W2WA added “By highlighting Wheels to Work in the government White Paper announcing the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, the Department for Transport have rekindled interest in Wheels to Work from local authorities and several are now researching how to set up their own schemes”.

More information is now available on the W2WA website: