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Green Capital win should drive more electric cars onto Bristol roads

Councillors should use this as a springboard to introduce more electric vehicles, improve air quality and avoid an array of damaging EU fines
By Bristol24-7 Reader
Tuesday June 25, 2013

Bristol City Council (BCC) is currently looking at creating a number of low emission zones within the city centre which would help to improve air quality in the region. The city is one of a number in the UK which is currently under threat of EU fines because of air quality which is below EU standards.

At the moment, BCC seems to be contemplating a ban on diesel powered lorries and buses, in favour of low emission vehicles. Is this the perfect opportunity to investigate greater use of electric vehicles in the region?

Bristol as a whole is on something of a green roll having won the European Green Capital Award for 2015. This has opened up an array of financial opportunities for the council and businesses in the region and indeed highlighted the very impressive reduction in CO2 emissions across the area.

The very fact that the city has seen a reduction in carbon emissions year-on-year since 2005 is very impressive. We have seen the installation of biomass boilers, more investment in renewable energy sources and improved efficiency across Bristol’s 34,000 street light network. All of these have obviously caught the eye of European Union representatives who have given the city its very impressive green accolade for 2015, but could the council do more?

If you look over to the US you will see that more and more states are using electric vehicles for their everyday services. This is something which is starting to grow in the UK but perhaps we need a council such as Bristol to highlight the use of electric vehicles for council business during this run on green issues.

In many ways the electric vehicle sector in the UK, and indeed around the world, still has something of a stigma attached after the General Motors EV1 debacle back in the 1990s. This was a time when General Motors introduced the award-winning EV1 electric car and then suddenly decided to recall all of the vehicles and crush them. There were rumours of political interference, pressure from the oil lobby but the reality is that, whatever happened, it impacted upon the motoring public’s impression of the industry.

The very fact that BCC has been awarded this EU prize for 2015 shows that this is a council which wants to be seen as willing to lead rather than follow, therefore perhaps now is the time to begin switching council vehicles from traditional petrol/diesel to electric power.

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