Joint Transport Committee set to outline commitment to ZEVs

Transport leaders are set to discuss the North East’s first region-wide Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) policy, an outline of the region’s aim to lead the country in boosting the up-take of Electric Vehicles by developing and expanding charging facilities.

The new policy is a commitment of the North East Transport Plan and reflects national Government ambitions that the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned in the UK from 2030, with hybrid vehicles following in 2035. The policy will enable the region to competitively bid for future funding from Government, supporting the rapid roll-out required for ZEV charging infrastructure.

The new policy will be discussed by the North East Joint Transport Committee at its next meeting on 15 March and demonstrates a further regional drive to increase the use of ZEVs, helping more local people make the switch to a more sustainable vehicle.

Transport is currently the largest contributing sector to emissions, representing 27% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions. The policy therefore addresses battery electric vehicles and infrastructure; Hydrogen vehicles and infrastructure; private cars, taxis and freight vehicles; shared mobility services – such as Car Clubs and Buses, however buses are mainly addressed regional within the North East Bus Service Improvement Plan which was submitted to Government in October 2021.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair, North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “In the future whenever people travel by car or van, we want that vehicle to be electric. For that to happen people must have confidence that they can charge up throughout the North East – whether they are driving in a city or whether they are in remote rural areas. 

“Currently over 60% of trips in our region are by private car. We always encourage people to walk, cycle, or take public transport where that is possible, but in many cases travelling by car or van is the only option.

“The new North East Zero Emission Policy outlines our aim to rapidly enhance regional charging facilities and build new partnerships which will enable us to drive forward a carbon-neutral North East. We will also reflect the impact of battery EVs and the potential role of hydrogen fuel – particularly for Heavy Goods Vehicles. This policy puts us in a good position to bid for future funding from Government which will be required to increase the roll-out of EV charging points at the scale required.

“Our region will continue to champion change that ultimately brings forward a healthier, more sustainable future for us all therefore I’m pleased to support this new policy.”

Gateshead EV charge point | Transport North East

EV charge point near the Angel of the North in Gateshead

The North East Zero Emission Policy predicts that in the next 15 years, as many as 28,000 publicly available EV charging points could be required to meet demand from users across the region. This will be progressed through a region-wide programme that sits across all public and private bodies, to direct activities that support the uptake of ZEVs, including monitoring progress made by partners, and making charging information available to the public in simple and easy-to-access formats.

Paul Glendinning, Director of Policy and Markets for Northern Powergrid, said: “Northern Powergrid are pleased to support the implementation of the new North East Zero Emission Policy. This is great news for local people and shows the forward-thinking position of North East leaders on this important issue. We are looking forward to working together to implement the new Policy.” 

This policy builds on successful initiatives such as the North East Go Ultra Low programme, including case studies of schemes from around the country, and will provide a solid foundation for future funding bids.

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