A £15million funding package will see a fleet of electric cars, new cycling infrastructure and a roll out of the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Programme introduced throughout Scotland over the next two years.
The investment announced by Transport Minister Keith Brown could mean up to £14million in improvements to cycling infrastructure as the Scottish Government seeks match-funding from partners.
And it will accelerate the scheme to install rapid chargers for electric vehicles up and down the country, as well as seeing a shiny new fleet of EVs purchased for car clubs.
Mr Brown said: “The Scottish Government is absolutely committed to achieving the target of almost total decarbonisation of road transport by 2050 because of the numerous benefits.
“Cycling and walking are good not only for the individual, but they increase the safety on our roads through reduced congestion, which also helps improve our environment. This investment will help make those more attractive options.
“We do recognise that giving up the car isn’t an option for everyone so we are not only investing in car clubs to help cut the number of cars on our roads, but ensuring that those cars are electric vehicles to help minimise emissions.
“The Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) aims to encourage more people to reduce their car use in favour of more sustainable alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport.”
This year’s extra money has been identified from unused inflation contingency on the Queensferry Crossing budget and will mean £7million additional investment for cycling and walking infrastructure, £2million for electric vehicle rapid chargers and £1million for up to 30 electric vehicles for car clubs.
In addition, £5 million to develop behaviour change aspects of the Smarter Choices Smarter Places programme will be included in the draft Budget for 2015/16.
This is in addition to the previously announced £5million being invested in a range of Low Carbon Vehicle projects, including grants to local authorities for charging points, and will also aid the continued installation of charging points at homes and workplaces.
Transport Scotland plan for the charging infrastructure investment to fund installation of up to 300 additional charging points, taking the total to around 1,200.
It will accelerate the delivery of a rapid charging infrastructure at 35 mile intervals (or less) on Scotland’s primary road network.
The cycling investment will seek match funding and will extend the Community Links Programme, connecting communities to amenities through improved cycling and walking paths, and the National Cycle network as well as installing bike parking at workplaces and schools.
The Smarter Choices Smarter Places programme will focus on locally designed behaviour change initiatives, including travel planning, and will also be designed to attract local match funding.
Mr Brown added: “I am delighted that we are able to invest this money from within existing budgets, ensuring that we are delivering on community-based schemes such as Community Links and car clubs, as well as big-ticket projects like the Queensferry Crossing, Scotland’s biggest construction project in a generation.”
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