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£16.7m Scottish Government funding for electric vehicle charging points and green buses

£16.7m Scottish Government funding for electric vehicle charging points and green buses

Electric car - Image credit: PA Images

The Scottish Government is to invest nearly £17m in green transport, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced ahead of the programme for government, which is published today.

The £16.7m funding will be used for 1,500 more electric vehicle charging points and 100 electric buses.

An expansion of the Switched on Towns and Cities initiative will also help create 20 new ‘electric towns’ by 2025 to support local communities to increase electric vehicle uptake, she said.

This follows the announcement in last year’s programme for government that the Scottish Government intends to end the sale of new petrol or diesel cars in Scotland by 2032.

The new funding comes on top of £20m that has already been announced to help people make the transition to electric vehicles and £4.8m of grant funding for 500 new ultra-low emission vehicles in the public sector fleet

The First Minister made the announcement on a visit to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) headquarters in Cambuslang.

The SFRS has committed to reducing its carbon footprint with plans to introduce up to 100 ultra-low emission plug-in vehicles to its light fleet.

The service is also actively looking at how it could use its 356 fire stations across Scotland to support the ongoing development of charging networks.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “In last year’s Programme for Government we committed to remove the need for petrol and diesel cars and vans on Scotland’s roads by 2032. 

“Electrifying the road network and transforming the way we travel is vital to reducing our carbon emission, tackling climate change and improving air quality.

“Last year’s Programme for Government set out our ambition as a country and some key steps including making the A9 Scotland’s first electric trunk road.

“This year we want to go further still, and through the package of support we’re announcing in this year’s Programme for Government, as well as our continued investment of £1 billion a year in low carbon and public transport, more people will be able to play their part in putting Scotland at the forefront of low carbon travel.

“As part of our public fleet I’m pleased our emergency services are playing a leading role in adopting low emission vehicles – setting an example for other parts of the public and private sectors.

“Through continued investment, and work to encourage communities to embrace the social change required, we can make our towns and cities more desirable places to live and work in, and develop a sustainable future for younger generations.”

However, the Greens mocked the Scottish Government announcement as “green window dressing”.

They disputed the claim the money would put Scotland at the forefront of low carbon travel, pointing out that Norway has promised to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025, seven years before Scotland, and said 100 buses would not make a huge difference out of the thousands in Scotland.

Highlands and Islands Green MSP John Finnie said: “A little bit of green window dressing won’t impress the thousands of Scots who rely on buses every day.

“What they want to see is a more reliable and less expensive service within an industry that is properly regulated. If the government is serious about improving buses, they’ll make the necessary changes to toughen up the Transport Bill.

“While any investment aimed at reducing carbon emissions is welcome, including this small sum from the government, a hundred new buses out of a fleet of thousands makes a mockery of the First Minister’s claim that the investment places Scotland at the ‘forefront of low carbon travel’.

“Furthermore, the claim really is laughable considering Norway will phase out petrol powered cars seven years ahead of Scotland and that hybrid cars will be permitted to be sold here beyond the 2032 target.”

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