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UK cities disappoint in Clean Cities’ zero-emission mobility report

Clean Cities, a campaign backed by Transport & Environment, has published the results of a survey in which 42 European cities have been ranked according to their progress in making zero emission shared transport available to the local populations.

The cities were awarded marks out of ten for shared bikes and e-scooters, shared electric cars, zero-emission buses and EV charging infrastructure.

three people riding bicycles

Unsurprisingly, Scandinavia scores well, with Copenhagen taking the top spot ahead of Oslo and Helsinki in sixth place.

UK cities are largely hamstrung by the fact that shared electric cars is not a concept that has been embraced here, and as such the five cities included (London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester) score a combined 1.5 out of 50 in this category. 

That said, none of them scored very well in the other categories either. Manchester came bottom of the list with 3.3 out of 40 (Copenhagen had scored 34.6) although Mancunians might point out that the Metrolink – on which 26 million journeys are made each year – had not been taken into account.

A surprise success story comes from Ljubljana in Slovenia who ranked ninth, despite not having a singly zero-emission bus in the entire city.

The report ends by making recommendations to cities (provide and prioritise space and infrastructure for shared mobility), national governments ( Provide a flexible legal framework for cities to roll out and regulate shared mobility) and the EU (Make Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans binding for all urban nodes on the Trans-European Transport Network and Make EU funding for cities conditional on the switch to zero-emission mobility, including shared mobility).

Barbara Stoll, Director of the Clean Cities Campaign, commented: ‘City leaders that show leadership and ambition are able to make wise and nimble investment decisions which can super-charge their efforts towards a zero-emissions urban future. It’s not primarily about having more money – cities that are not among the richest have far outperformed their peers through good regulatory frameworks and forward-looking planning.’

Addressing the UK’s failings in the shared EV sector, James Taylor, UK General Manager at Zipcar said: ‘London’s current position in the Clean Cities Campaign report highlights the opportunities still to be gained through shared mobility such as electric car clubs. 

‘Zipcar is working hard to grow its electric car club fleet – we have a vision to be completely electric by 2025 and we already have 1,000 EV cars in our fleet – however we would like to do more.

‘A shared mobility and car club vision with clear targets and supporting policies would help the growth of the shared mobility sector, ensuring Londoners have an affordable, and sustainable alternative to private car ownership.’

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