Up to four UK cities can apply to £35 million government fund to promote the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles
Local authorities are being invited to bid for a share of £35 million government funding towards introducing low emission zones and other measures to support the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).
Announced on Boxing Day (December 26), the government’s ‘Go ultra-low city scheme’ allows up to four cities in the UK with the best proposals to boost air quality to get a share of the money.
The fund is designed to support a range of measures to encourage ULEV uptake, such as installing charge points for electric cars, introducing low emission zones, changing planning rules, trialling technology and boosting workplace schemes.
According to the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles, the £35 million funding scheme – part of £500 million support for the ULEV market and infrastructure – will help improve air quality across the UK as well as boosting ‘local economies by creating more jobs’.
Government transport minister, Baroness Kramer, said: “This £35 million funding is an unequivocal signal from government that we are committed to improving air quality and making ultra-low emission vehicles a practical and viable choice for more people.
She said the government was also working with the motor industry to explain the benefits and performance features of ULEVs, which include electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Baroness Kramer added: “I would like to encourage local authorities to take up this fantastic opportunity. This can help to transform people’s quality of life in their cities and build a stronger economy.â€?
The transport minister said the scheme would complement other funds such as the £30 million bus scheme and the £20 million taxi scheme, which together amount to a ‘comprehensive package of government support to encourage more environmentally friendly travel’.
All new vehicles will have ‘some kind of ULEV element’ by 2040, the government said, and there has been a ‘steady rise’ in the number of people taking up ULEVs as more models become available.
According to the government, driving costs are as low as 2p per mile and there are now over 7,000 publicly accessible charge-points installed at nearly 3,000 locations across the UK. By the end of the year almost every motorway service station will have a rapid charger, it added.
The deadline for submitting bids to the £35 million fund is February 20 2015, with shortlisted cities then invited to submit final bids by the end of August 2015. The winners will be announced in Autumn 2015.