The Go Ultra Low city scheme will reward four cities which demonstrate the most potential to become centres for excellence for low emission vehicles (ULEV) with a share of £35m. The second scheme provides an additional £30m to enable local authorities to replace current bus fleets with greener alternatives to improve urban air quality.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said the funding should be seen as “an unequivocal signal” of the Government’s commitment to making ultra-low emission vehicles a “practical and viable choice” for more people.

The funding will “help to transform people’s quality of life in their cities and build a stronger economy and is an important step towards our 2050 vision, when almost every car and van in the UK will be an ultra-low emission vehicle,” Kramer added.

Centres of excellence

A shortlist of 12 cities was announced for the £35m Go Ultra Low city scheme. Two to four cities will be chosen in the autumn, based on proposals on their adoption plans for ULEV in local areas.

The shortlist includes:

– Greater London Authority
– West Yorkshire Combined Authority
– North East Combined Authority
– City of York Council
– West of England
– Dundee City Council
– Sheffield City Council
– Milton Keynes Council
– Department for Regional Development of Northern Ireland
– Oxford City Council
– Nottingham City Council 
– Leicester City Council

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport (DfT) will assess bids for the £30m bus funding scheme against a range of criteria such as potential air quality improvements and value for money.

“The Government is working hand in hand with business to increase the uptake of electric vehicles across the country,” Business Minister Matthew Hancock said: “This investment will improve local air quality, reduce carbon emissions, and create growth opportunities for firms who develop and manufacture this kind of technology.

“Supporting new technologies is a key part of our long-term economic plan.”

Government goes green

Today’s funding announcement is the second package in two days from the Government’s £500m ULEV fund. Yesterday it was revealed that 140 plug-in cars and vans will service 15 of the Government’s own departments, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and the Home Office.

The Government Car Service, which provides cars for ministers, will also adopt four ULEVs. The cars form the first stage in a £5m investment to illustrate the effectiveness of ULEV vehicles. The fund will also support take-up by the wider public sector, including councils, police forces and the NHS.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “I have led the drive for electric cars and vans across government because – with much lower running costs and close to zero emissions – this is the right thing to do for both the environment and the taxpayer.”

“This government is also investing significantly in ultra-low emission vehicles, and I recently launched a £10m battery prize for UK scientists to ensure that we are world-leading in this major new technology.”

Earlier this week, BCC Research said it expects the global electric vehicle market to have increased by $36.8bn by 2019 – an 8.5% year-on-year increase, resulting in a global market worth $109.8bn.  This will have the effect of cutting the UK’s diesel and petrol spending by 40% by 2030 according to Cambridge Econometrics.

Lucinda Dann

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