Greens welcome £7.5m funding to increase number of electric cars

January 28 2016
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Greens welcome £7.5m funding to increase number of electric cars

A GREEN councillor in Redland has welcomed an initiative which could see electric vehicle numbers rise across the city.

Andrew Jones, Under Secretary of State for Transport, visited Bristol on January 25 to announce that the four West of England authorities’ bid for £7.5 million Go Ultra Low Cities government funding had been successful. The investment is to be used to spark a large uptake in Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) use in the region, which covers vehicles that produce 75 grams of carbon dioxide or less per kilometre, including electric and plug in hybrid.

Pollution is high in some parts of central Bristol, so an initiative like this is to be encouraged, explained Martin Fodor, Green Councillor for Redland.

He said: “The Gloucester Road and much of the city centre are in statutory air quality management areas because of the excess pollution, which public health studies show kills around 200 extra people a year in the city – that’s something that does need to be tackled!”

All four authorities plan to use the funding to convert 20 – 25 per cent of their light vehicles to ULEVs, which will result in large savings on fuel bills as well as a huge reduction in the harmful emissions being pumped into the region’s airspace.

Mr Jones said: “This funding for eco-cities is part of our £500 million funding programme over the next five years to support British industry and achieve our ambition of almost every car, bus and van in the UK being ultra low emission by 2050.”

The bid was submitted in partnership with Business West and 35 West of England employers have committed to invest in 100 ULEVs by 2020.

James Durie, Executive Director for Business West, said: “With the eyes of the world on Bristol, the Go Ultra Low City Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for the city to become an international ambassador for ultra-low emission vehicles, showcasing its opportunity and desire to transform people’s quality of life and to build a stronger, more resilient economy.”

The funding is set to be used to double the number of charging points in the region to 400 and increase the number of ULEVs being registered to 5,000 per year by 2020. It will also fund multi-modal charging hubs that are to be built at the University of the West of England and North Somerset.

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said: “I’m delighted that the Department for Transport has been able to support our

innovative and ambitious plans with this funding, which will make a significant addition to the lasting impact of Bristol’s highly successful year as European Green Capital in 2015.

“The transition of council fleet vans and cars to electric also means that as a council we are leading by example, with the benefit of major reductions in fuel costs and pollution.”

Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low, said: “With thousands more plug-in cars set to be sold locally, cutting running costs for motorists and helping the environment, this investment will help Bristol gain recognition as one of the most sustainable transport cities in Europe.”

However, there are calls that more still needs to be done to reduce congestion on Bristol’s roads.

Mr Fodor said: “Every new development that fails to provide good cycling, walking and public transport options from day one, like the massive housing project at Filton airfield, crams extra traffic into routes like Gloucester Rd and Whiteladies Rd which we live along, causing pollution and poor health.

“It can’t just be individual vehicles for single occupants that get cleaner; we need fewer vehicles overall and more use of frequent, affordable rail, buses, and cycling plus walking for shorter journeys.”

Further details about the Go Ultra Low campaign are available at www.goultralow.com .

Photo: Andrew Jones MP, Under Secretary of State for Transport and George Ferguson