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Pfizer aims to cut jams out of Sandwich

PHARMACEUTICALS GIANT Pfizer is working on a radical 'green' commuter plan to cut congestion around its factory and research centre in Sandwich, Kent.

The site currently employs 4,000 staff and subcontractors - as many people as the entire population of Sandwich, just 1.6km away. Pfizer fears extra traffic congestion in the area could undermine its future investment efforts to recruit staff.

Pfizer is to advertise for a full time transportation manager next week. The new manager will organise commuting to the site - which is expected to grow by another 1,000 staff in the next five years following construction of a new £104M extension.

The decision to advertise comes ahead of the Government's Transport White Paper which is expected to include new plans to develop a national integrated transport policy. It is the latest of several major employers to embrace green commuting. Others include retailer Boots, Digital and BAA. The Highways Agency is expected to produce plans for its own staff later this year.

Pfizer said that in Sandwich, traffic jams caused by a combination of narrow single track country roads and 20mph (32km/h) speed limits in the town centre, make access to the site difficult. It will try to encourage staff to abandon their cars in favour of bicycles or public transport.

The new transportation manager is expected to be a senior local government official - very possibly a civil engineer - with experience of lobbying senior government officials and ministers on transport issues.

(see Commentary page10).

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