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Leading the charge on World EV Day!

Thursday September 10th, 2020

Highways England invests over £9 million in electric vehicle ‘try before you buy’ schemeElectric cars

Highways England is super-charging a green incentive scheme with a multi-million pound investment that allows businesses to try electric vehicles for free before they buy.

In an initiative designed to encourage a shift to cleaner, lower carbon vehicles, the company is handing £9.3 million to local authorities to encourage businesses with diesel van fleets to make the switch to electric.

It works by offering the businesses a free trial of electric vehicles for two months.

Following a successful pilot with the Energy Saving Trust and a launch with Leeds City Council earlier in the year, councils in Coventry, Kent, Nottingham, and Sheffield are working to set up their own schemes. And today on World EV (Electric Vehicle) Day (9 September) the company has announced over £3 million of funding has been agreed with Bristol City Council.

It is among a host of measures Highways England is taking to improve air quality and tackle carbon emissions from road transport as the UK takes steps to become a zero-carbon economy by 2050.

The scheme has been made possible by Highways England’s Designated Funds programme designed to benefit people, the economy and the planet with an overall investment of £936m between 2020 and 2025.

The company’s Designated Funds programme has already delivered over 2,000 schemes between 2015 and 2020.

The electric vehicles will contribute to improving air quality in cities and towns, and help reduce carbon emissions. They have also been put to good use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last five months, electric vans used for the trial scheme in Leeds have also been driven more than 10,000 miles as part of the city’s emergency coronavirus response. The vehicles have been used in a number of ways including delivering local food parcels to those self-isolating or shielding, transporting key council key workers and supporting the work of vital third sector organisations.

Highways England’s Designated Funds programme is divided into four funding streams aimed at making the biggest difference and delivering lasting benefits; environment and wellbeing, users and community, safety and congestion and innovation and modernisation. Between 2015 and 2020 the programme has:

ensured over 95 per cent of England’s motorways and major A-roads are within 20 miles of a rapid electric vehicle charging point.

reduced the impact of noise for around 50,000 people living alongside motorways and implemented measures to reduce air pollution at identified hotspots.

delivered more than 160 cycle schemes including upgraded crossings to improve connectivity with local communities.

tackled 260 locations vulnerable to flooding with improved drainage and ecology.

Other achievements include 124 biodiversity initiatives, 150 safety improvements on single carriageway roads to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured and over 6,500 lights and traffic signals converted to LED.

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