The government has announced funding worth up to Â£2 million to support the uptake of e-cargo bikes in towns and cities.
The funding will help pave the way for the â€œnimble electric delivery vehicles to replace older, polluting vansâ€ ministers said today, ahead of the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit this week.
This will also build on the governmentâ€™s consultation on â€˜cleanâ€™ last-mile deliveries, which closes today, and sought views as to how delivery firms can be encouraged to shift to less polluting â€˜last mileâ€™ operations.
Announcing the funding, Jesse Norman, Minister for Low Emission Vehicles, said: â€œSupport for e-cargo bikes will help to ensure that Britain leads the way in the development and deployment of the technologies of the future.
â€œEncouraging electric delivery bikes on to our city streets will cut traffic and improve air quality, and will show how these vehicles have the potential to play an important role in the zero emission future of this country.â€
According to the government, a boom in internet shopping has seen a growth in home deliveries, which has led to a marked rise in van traffic â€“ much of which is made up of diesel vans.
In the last year alone spending online in the UK increased by 15.3% and the latest road traffic estimates indicate van traffic increased by 4.7% to 49.5 billion vehicle miles in 2016, it has said.
Most of the vans are diesel, which cause congestion and have a detrimental impact on the environment. Over time the government expects to see increasing numbers of electric vans on UK streets but ministers are also keen to encourage other delivery modes including e-cargo bikes.