|100,000 Electric Cars to Hit London Streets|
London mayor Boris Johnson announced today his intent to make the city the electric car capital of Europe. He said he wanted to introduce 100,000 electric cars to the capital’s streets and to build an infrastructure of 25,000 charging points in public streets, car parks and shops.Johnson said he would pay for a third of the £60m plan from the budget of the Greater London Authority (GLA), and challenged the government to fund the rest and make good its enthusiasm for electric vehicles, which Gordon Brown today said would feature in the upcoming budget announcement.
"The time for simply talking about electric vehicles is over – we need real action on the ground to make the electric vehicle an easy choice for Londoners," said Johnson. “I am today committing millions to install the infrastructure needed for when, in just a few years time, these vehicles become much more widely available."
Among the proposals are a change to the London Plan, ensuring all new building developments install charging points and at least a fifth of all new parking spaces are equipped with charging facilities.
He also wants to keep the exemption from the congestion charge enjoyed by electric cars and replace at least 1,000 of the GLA’s fleet of vehicles with electric equivalents by 2015.
“This is an unprecedented package of measures to make London the electric car capital of Europe," said Johnson. “By taking these steps, we will not only create green collar jobs, but also smooth the way for less polluting transport choices which will improve our air quality, reduce traffic noise and contribute significantly to my carbon emissions reduction target. It is time for the government to put its money where its mouth is and back my plan to make electric vehicles the first choice for Londoners."
In January, transport secretary Geoff Hoon said the government would make £250million available for consumer incentives to bring electric cars to market in the UK. Johnson said he would lobby to capture as much of this fund as possible for London, the UK’s biggest car market. In February, Johnson had said he wanted to take a “sizeable chunk" of the fund, and floated the concept of an electric car hire scheme.
Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkins said the London Mayor’s vision was admirable, though was missing the point. “Electric cars are only as green as the energy they run on and the UK’s renewable energy industry is drastically underfunded.
“The government must urgently ramp up its support for renewable energy to ensure these cars – and our homes and businesses – all make efficient of use clean green fuel. And Boris Johnson must invest in public transport, cycling and walking as well as electric cars. Only this holistic approach will be enough to cut London’s emissions by 60 per cent by 2025 and bring the whole of London within EU limits on air pollution."
Source: Go Media - Image credit: thingermejig via Flickr,