Electric vehicle charging points, low emission public transport and LED lighting have been named some of the most ‘vital’ investments to help UK cities become smarter.
A report from the Green Investment Bank has listed the best ways for regions to develop urban infrastructure in a way that will reduce carbon emissions, improve quality of life and minimise waste.
Councils were advised that Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) and plug-in hybrids could effectively eliminate certain harmful particulate emissions but would require ‘a network of charging points’ in residential areas, public sector buildings, roads and workplaces.
Growing uptake of electric vehicles is creating a ‘new infrastructure challenge’ for cities that must create a system to meet total reliance on battery storage, the report said.
The Green Investment Bank also highlighted how LED streetlighting could provide a ‘step-change’ in efficiency and performance for metropolitan areas, using 50-80% less energy, lasting up to six times longer and offering more controllable illumination.
Despite the benefits, the report said uptake of LED lights by local authorities had been ‘slow’. It added that the increased scope of the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme would increase the cost of inefficient lighting for town halls.
The Green Investment Bank added that local authority efforts to deploy electric fleets and low emission public transport could dramatically slash greenhouse gas emissions.
London’s Low Emission Zone was sad to be ‘helping to drive adoption’ of greener vehicles for public and commercial use, while the Green Bus Fund had bought forward 1,250 low emission vehicles in cities including Newcastle, Nottingham and Manchester.
The report said the £30m government commitment for low emission vehicles alongside the £20m provided for ultra-low emission taxis was ‘providing for investment in fleets alongside the roll-out of a network of charging infrastructure’.
Writing in the report, Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of the UK Green Investment Bank, said such infrastructure would ‘make our cities truly smarter, bringing real social, economic and environmental benefits’.
He added that each of the technologies was ‘tried and tested and available to be deployed, at scale, right across the UK, straight away’.
‘We need to find infrastructure solutions that allow us to protect our world famous cityscapes and the countryside that surrounds them. Fortunately we now have a range of well established technologies which can help us do that.'