Four UK cities have been awarded funds from a £40 million government project today (Monday 25th January) as the Go Ultra Low City Scheme has been launched to encourage the uptake of plug-in cars. Bristol, London, Milton Keynes and Nottingham each successfully bid for a share of the funds, with new technology and policies set to be trialled in each city.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced the winners, saying: “These Go Ultra Low Cities have proposed exciting, innovative ideas that will encourage drivers to choose an electric car. I want to see thousands more greener vehicles on our roads and I am proud to back this ambition with £40 million to help the UK become international pioneers of emission cutting technology.
“The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and our long-term economic plan is investing £600 million by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040.”
London has been awarded the largest proportion of the money with £13 million allocated to create “Neighbourhoods of the future”, prioritising ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in a number of boroughs across the city. Plans include installing car-charging street lighting in a number of streets in Hackney to improve access to charging points, while Harrow will develop its own low emission zone with parking and traffic priorities given to owners of plug-in vehicles.
These projects will aim to help London have around a quarter of a million ULEVs on the capital’s roads by 2025 and plans to use ideas and incentives to encourage uptake. Similar plans put in place in Norway have seen the country become one of the most successful in the world in terms of ULEV uptake for residents.
Milton Keynes will use its £9 million fund to open an Electric Vehicle Experience Centre in the city centre. This will provide a one-stop shop for both potential and existing ULEV customers, with advice, and short term vehicle loans available. The city will also set-up all 20,000 parking spaces for free use by electric vehicle owners, and allow ULEVs the use of bus lanes too.
Bristol has been awarded £7 million for its plans to offer residents free residential parking for ULEVs in the city, along with access to three car pool lanes across the centre to improve traffic flow and air quality. More than 80 rapid and fast chargers across Bristol will also be available for use and a scheme to allow residents to lease a plug-in car for up to four weeks is intended to allow potential customers to see what they are like to live with day to day.
Nottingham and Derby will share £6 million to install 230 charge points and offer ULEV owners discounted parking in the area, along with access to 13 miles of bus lanes to improve access into the city. The funds will also allow the setting up of a business support programme to let local firms “try before they buy”.
Finally, the scheme is providing £5 million of development funding for initiatives in Dundee, Oxford, York and the north east. Commuter charging hubs will be established in Dundee, solar-canopied park and ride hubs will be built in York, and 100 charging points will be rolled out in Oxford’s residential streets.
Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low said: “We’re excited to see the innovative ideas put forward by each of the winning Go Ultra Low Cities become reality over the coming months. The £40 million investment by government, combined with funds from each winning area, will transform the roads for residents in and around the 4 Go Ultra Low Cities.
“With thousands more plug-in cars set to be sold, cutting running costs for motorists and helping the environment, this investment will help to put the UK at the forefront of the global ultra-low emissions race. Initiatives such as customer experience centres, free parking, permission to drive in bus lanes and hundreds of new, convenient public charging locations are sure to appeal to drivers and inspire other cities and local authorities to invest in the electric revolution.”
The Go Ultra Low Cities fund is one element of a £600 million package of measures from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles by 2020 which also includes £400 million of guaranteed money for individual plug-in car grants, investment in low emission buses and taxis, and research and development funding for innovative technology such as lighter vehicles and longer-lasting car batteries.