The Government has announced a £2m ‘grant’ to support the uptake of e-cargo bikes but has yet to provide details of how the cash will be distributed.
Department for Transport (DfT) officials made the announcement as part of the international Zero Emission Vehicle Summit being held in Birmingham.
However, it said that ‘further detail about the distribution of this funding will be outlined shortly’.
A DfT spokesperson was unable to provide further information as to whether the cash is intended, for example, to fund research or provide incentives to operators.
Jesse Norman, minister for low emission vehicles, said: ‘Encouraging 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.’
Officials said the Government’s plans will encourage alternate green technologies to counter the increasing usage of diesel delivery vans that has accompanied the boom in internet shopping.
They pointed out that in the last year spending online in the UK increased by 15.3% and said the latest road traffic estimates indicate that van (mainly diesel) traffic increased by 4.7% to 49.5 billion vehicle miles (bvm) in 2016.
In fact, the latest DfT estimates indicate that van traffic increased by a further 2.7% in 2017 to 50.5 bvm.
The DfT described the announcement of the ‘grant’ as an early response to its last mile call for evidence, which closed on Monday (10 September 2018) having sought views on how the Government can harness the opportunities for ‘greener delivery’ in the commercial and residential parts of towns and cities.
It added: ‘Further detail about the distribution of this funding will be outlined shortly along with the government’s full response to the call for evidence.’