More than £16 million in funding has been made available for to reduce emissions from Scotland’s bus fleet and for additional electric vehicle charging infrastructure, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today (3 September).
The First Minister confirmed that the money will be invested to ‘significantly’ increase the number of ‘green’ buses across the country and improve access to electric charging points in homes, businesses and public spaces.
Through the latest funding round, £1.7 million is being invested in more than 100 new buses, while £15 million will be used to fund new charging infrastructure, with a target to install more than 1,500 new electric charge points in homes, businesses and public spaces.
Ms Sturgeon made the announcement at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), which is committed to reducing its carbon footprint with plans to introduce up to 100 ultra-low emission Plug-in vehicles to its light fleet.
The SFRS is currently working with the Transport Scotland ‘Switched on Fleet Programme’ to deliver its ambitions.
Speaking on the visit to the organisation’s headquarters in Cambuslang, the First Minister said: “In last year’s Programme for Government we committed to remove the need for petrol and diesel cars and vans on Scotland’s roads by 2032. Electrifying the road network and transforming the way we travel is vital to reducing our carbon emission, tackling climate change and improving air quality.â€?
She added: “Through continued investment, and work to encourage communities to embrace the social change required, we can make our towns and cities more desirable places to live and work in, and develop a sustainable future for younger generations.â€?
The funding comes in addition to an initial £1.6 million pot of money available to support bus operators in reducing emissions in their vehicle fleets.
Up to £25,000 per bus is available through the Bus Emissions Abatement Retrofit Programme (BEAR) which is being delivered by the Energy Saving Trust (see airqualitynews.com story).
In April, details were released of an additional £10.8 million of financial support to be made available to the first four cities due to implement Scotland’s first Low Emission Zones (see airqualitynews.com story).
Up to 70% of the funding package will be used to support bus operators in Glasgow to prepare for the introduction of the city’s LEZ – the first in the country – which is due to be in place before the end of the year and will initially target buses.
The environmental charity, Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS), welcomed the First Minister’s announcement today.
EPS policy and communications officer, John Bynorth, said: “The £17 million of funding earmarked for electric car charging points is a major step forward in the effort to combat ‘range anxiety’ – the fear of being left stranded in an electric car. This is currently the biggest barrier to expanding EV ownership across Scotland.
“The Low Emission Zones planned for Scotland’s four main cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen will further drive the EV revolution, but only if they are backed up by a well considered nationwide network of publicly accessible charge-points out so EV owners can charge up outside their offices, shops and in multi-storey car-parks or outside leisure venues such as cinemas and swimming pools.