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Cities are among four that share £40m in DfT funding to promote uptake of cleaner vehicles

Electric cars are to be allowed in bus lanes in Derby and Milton Keynes. Currently private cars and other types of vehicle are banned from such lanes while they are in operation (rules vary at local level), but cyclists are typically allowed to use them.

The news was revealed by the Department for Transport (DfT) as it announced that four cities will share £40 million funding in an initiative designed to boost uptake of electric cars.

Those cities had entered a government competition called the Go Ultra Low City Scheme, with successful submissions including ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) being prioritised in several London boroughs for parking and charging.

Other winners included Milton Keynes and Derby, and in both locations ULEVs will be allowed into bus lanes, something that is likely to cause concern among cycle campaigners. In Bristol, meanwhile, they will be permitted to use carpool lanes.

Allowing electric vehicles to use bus lanes is seen as a carrot that can entice motorists to switch to cleaner transport.

Zac Goldsmith, Tory candidate for the mayoral election in May, said in November he would let drivers of the vehicles use bus lanes, as cyclists and black cab drivers can – although ultimately, he plans to scrap the city’s bus lanes altogether.

One particular issue is that unlike petrol or diesel powered vehicles, electric ones are silent, so someone on a bike may be unaware that there is a ULEV immediately behind them.

Such concerns have been widespread for several years, with manufacturers such as Nissan, whose Leaf was the world’s first all-electric mass produced car, introducing artificial engine noises to help other road users become aware of the vehicles presence.

In 2011, BBC News reported how Professor Paul Jennings had been experimenting with an electric vehicle at Warwick University’s campus that gave off a variety of noises.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13416020

He said that simply replicating a conventional engine noise “would be losing a huge opportunity.

"We all know traffic noise can be annoying and the levels are significantly high. We do not want to lose the benefit we could get from using new reduced sounds.

"The challenge is to create sounds that are as safe as possible but also ones that are much more pleasing for the urban environment," he added.

In today’s DfT announcement, Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, commented: “We’re excited to see the innovative ideas put forward by each of the winning Go Ultra Low Cities become reality over the coming months.

“The £40 million investment by government, combined with funds from each winning area, will transform the roads for residents in and around the four Go Ultra Low Cities.

“With thousands more plug-in cars set to be sold, cutting running costs for motorists and helping the environment, this investment will help to put the UK at the forefront of the global ultra-low emissions race.

“Initiatives such as customer experience centres, free parking, permission to drive in bus lanes and hundreds of new, convenient public charging locations are sure to appeal to drivers and inspire other cities and local authorities to invest in the electric revolution.”

Secretary of state for transport Patrick McLoughlin said: “These Go Ultra Low Cities have proposed exciting, innovative ideas that will encourage drivers to choose an electric car.

“I want to see thousands more greener vehicles on our roads and I am proud to back this ambition with £40 million to help the UK become international pioneers of emission cutting technology.

“The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and our long-term economic plan is investing £600 million by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

29 comments

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don simon [1325 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

Hang on! Apart from finding 40 million quid to spend on this instead of improving the cycling infrastructure, I think that it's flawed and unworkable.

I have a field of (1,000+) trees which I'm sure makes me a carbon neutral driver. I should be allowed to take advantage of this new plan. I'm not even thinking of trading in the veg oil burning 4x4 for a new battery powered car that won't last long, costs a fortune to manufacture and is in no way environmentally friendly.

This country is fucked up.

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cyclesteffer [276 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

+1 , all this doesn't take into account the environmental costs of making all these electric cars and their batteries.

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wycombewheeler [1209 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

Because cyclists only need to be protected from fumes? Seems like a plan to benefit about 4 e car drivers and reduce cycling. This needs to be challenged.

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jasecd [475 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
don simon wrote:

Hang on! Apart from finding 40 million quid to spend on this instead of improving the cycling infrastructure, I think that it's flawed and unworkable.

I have a field of (1,000+) trees which I'm sure makes me a carbon neutral driver. I should be allowed to take advantage of this new plan. I'm not even thinking of trading in the veg oil burning 4x4 for a new battery powered car that won't last long, costs a fortune to manufacture and is in no way environmentally friendly.

This country is fucked up.

While I think you have a very valid point, I doubt the government really cares about the environmental costs of producing electric cars as this is done abroad and doesn't figure in their emissions figures. Also, I'm not sure that owning a field of trees makes you carbon neutral unless you've planted them and added to the tree stock - if you have then I applaud you, if not then there is really no additional benefit.

Personally I'd like to see bus lanes rebranded as low emission lanes, meaning that they could be used by buses, cyclists, motorbikes and electric vehicles. But on this rationale 2.5l diesel taxis should be prohibted from using them - to be honest I've never understood their right to do so in the first place - at least in the short term this should free up the lanes and promote both cycling and electric vehicles.

Avatar
Ush [990 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
jasecd wrote:

I'm not sure that owning a field of trees makes you carbon neutral unless you've planted them and added to the tree stock

While taking your point, even if he didn't plant them then at least he's not cutting them down.

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jasecd [475 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Ush wrote:
jasecd wrote:

I'm not sure that owning a field of trees makes you carbon neutral unless you've planted them and added to the tree stock

While taking your point, even if he didn't plant them then at least he's not cutting them down.

Sure that is a good thing, but it doesn't make him carbon neutral as he claims.

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Ush [990 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

So, the plan is to _congest_ the bus lanes with a bunch of electric vehicles? I thought the purpose of the buslane was to encourage users of (already energy efficient) mass transit?

Electric cars are slightly less objectionable in their profligate waste than fossil fuel powered cars, but they're still an inefficient use of a large mass to deliver a single occupant. They're still deadly in impacts. They're still unsightly and occupying too much living space in a city.

This initiative strikes me as very confused thinking which is likely to interfere with actual, working lower pollution modes of transport.

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SteppenHerring [342 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Well, the silence might stop iPeds stepping into cycle lanes without looking. 

Or the alternative is a mate with a trombone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvYQiEEyChI

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Rhode_Long [16 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

As the very happy owner of a Nissan Leaf (not as good as cycling obviously but as cars go they are great!) I am completely against the "incentive" of being able to use bus lanes. Free charging and free parking I am all for but I don't think I should be able to use bus lanes. It is still a car and it is still traffic. 

The point raised about how quiet they are is very valid. There is no way I would hear one approaching when on a bike (and the artificial noise they make is only when starting off and would not be transmitted beyond a few mph.)

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don simon [1325 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
jasecd wrote:
don simon wrote:

Hang on! Apart from finding 40 million quid to spend on this instead of improving the cycling infrastructure, I think that it's flawed and unworkable.

I have a field of (1,000+) trees which I'm sure makes me a carbon neutral driver. I should be allowed to take advantage of this new plan. I'm not even thinking of trading in the veg oil burning 4x4 for a new battery powered car that won't last long, costs a fortune to manufacture and is in no way environmentally friendly.

This country is fucked up.

While I think you have a very valid point, I doubt the government really cares about the environmental costs of producing electric cars as this is done abroad and doesn't figure in their emissions figures. Also, I'm not sure that owning a field of trees makes you carbon neutral unless you've planted them and added to the tree stock - if you have then I applaud you, if not then there is really no additional benefit.

Personally I'd like to see bus lanes rebranded as low emission lanes, meaning that they could be used by buses, cyclists, motorbikes and electric vehicles. But on this rationale 2.5l diesel taxis should be prohibted from using them - to be honest I've never understood their right to do so in the first place - at least in the short term this should free up the lanes and promote both cycling and electric vehicles.

 

All planted some 30 years ago when I was a teenager. I'd be interested in seeing the figures you have that prove my claims as incorrect. Either way, it's still a damn sight more than a very large portion of the nation and I'm more than happy with my contribution and my choice of vehicle too.

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cookdn [28 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Unfortunately all the company director types driving plug-in hybrid 4x4s (most of whom will be getting sizeable tax rebates to use these as company cars) will take ownership of these lanes during rush hour.  Derby gets it's own ZiL lanes, delightful  2 .

I hope this doesn't creep over the county border into Nottinghamshire.

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BikingBud [31 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

"In Bristol, meanwhile, they will be permitted to use carpool lanes."

- They are as congested as the other lanes, primarily with people who do not know how to count :(

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jasecd [475 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
don simon wrote:

All planted some 30 years ago when I was a teenager. I'd be interested in seeing the figures you have that prove my claims as incorrect. Either way, it's still a damn sight more than a very large portion of the nation and I'm more than happy with my contribution and my choice of vehicle too.

 

As I said in my original post I applaud you. I wish I had the land and money to do something similar.

My point was that if you had simply bought a field of trees then it would not change your level of emissions as the trees would exist regardless of who owned them.

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vbvb [620 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
jasecd wrote:

My point was that if you had simply bought a field of trees then it would not change your level of emissions as the trees would exist regardless of who owned them.

Now this lacks logic. If I buy and run a secondhand taxi, it should be factored into my emissions, surely, even if the previous owner would otherwise have kept running the thing. Same with the trees.

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jasecd [475 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
vbvb wrote:
jasecd wrote:

My point was that if you had simply bought a field of trees then it would not change your level of emissions as the trees would exist regardless of who owned them.

Now this lacks logic. If I buy and run a secondhand taxi, it should be factored into my emissions, surely, even if the previous owner would otherwise have kept running the thing. Same with the trees.

 

Your analagy is somewhat flawed - the taxi pollutes based on it's usage, while the trees continuously absorb carbon. 

If there are X number of trees in the world which absorb Y co2, you don't offset your emmisions (Z) by buying a portion of the existing trees, you do so by by adding to them and therefore increasing the amount of available carbon absorbtion to Y+Z.

 

 

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Stephan Matthiesen [63 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

This will probably encourage many drivers of normal cars to use the lanes illegally too.

Most drivers don't read the signs but just do what everybody else is doing. Electric cars look like normal cars, so other drivers will assume that the bus lane is inactive and everybody can drive there.

I can see it every day - once one driver goes into the bus lane, a lot of others follow. On some days, the bus lane on my way to work is completely empty, and on others  about a quarter of the drivers go into it, but I very rarely see just one car using it while all other drivers sit in the queue.

 

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Wookie [241 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I wonder what would happen if all the drivers in Milton Keynes and Derby switched to electric vehicles?

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LarryDavidJr [359 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
SteppenHerring wrote:

Well, the silence might stop iPeds stepping into cycle lanes without looking. 

Or the alternative is a mate with a trombone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvYQiEEyChI

Oh dear god, tears in my eyes.

That video wins the internets.

Avatar
Sanderstorm [34 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
don simon wrote:

Hang on! Apart from finding 40 million quid to spend on this instead of improving the cycling infrastructure, I think that it's flawed and unworkable.

I have a field of (1,000+) trees which I'm sure makes me a carbon neutral driver. I should be allowed to take advantage of this new plan. I'm not even thinking of trading in the veg oil burning 4x4 for a new battery powered car that won't last long, costs a fortune to manufacture and is in no way environmentally friendly.

This country is fucked up.

 

This is slighlty the wrong end of the stick, it's about cutting down local NOX pollutants in cities and not really about carbon, although cutting carbon is obviously good.

Avatar
Sniffer [427 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Sanderstorm wrote:
don simon wrote:

Hang on! Apart from finding 40 million quid to spend on this instead of improving the cycling infrastructure, I think that it's flawed and unworkable.

I have a field of (1,000+) trees which I'm sure makes me a carbon neutral driver. I should be allowed to take advantage of this new plan. I'm not even thinking of trading in the veg oil burning 4x4 for a new battery powered car that won't last long, costs a fortune to manufacture and is in no way environmentally friendly.

This country is fucked up.

 

This is slighlty the wrong end of the stick, it's about cutting down local NOX pollutants in cities and not really about carbon, although cutting carbon is obviously good.

 

Sanderstorm is absolutely right.  Simplifying to clean or dirty leads to this kind of confusion.

In our cities NOx and particulates are the biggest pollutants.  Where you emit matters ie. it is local pollution.  Global warming effects is total emissions ie. where you emit doesn't matter.

Now a bike is good for both.  An electric car is good for NOx and particulates.  I am not so sure about global warming.  It probably depends on how the electricity is generated and the environmental impact of manufacture.

Avatar
Chris [160 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
BikingBud wrote:

"In Bristol, meanwhile, they will be permitted to use carpool lanes." - They are as congested as the other lanes, primarily with people who do not know how to count  2

They've had car pool lanes in LA for decades. I've heard of people putting a manequin or blow-up doll in the passenger seat in an attempt to fool the enforcement cameras, but mostly people obey the rules, yet despite these kinds of measures LA is still very congested and still nestled under a blanket of smog, probably because they keep incentivising and prioritising car driving instead of reducing the need for car use. Much like this bus lane idea.

Avatar
Rhode_Long [16 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Sniffer wrote:
Sanderstorm wrote:
don simon wrote:

Hang on! Apart from finding 40 million quid to spend on this instead of improving the cycling infrastructure, I think that it's flawed and unworkable.

I have a field of (1,000+) trees which I'm sure makes me a carbon neutral driver. I should be allowed to take advantage of this new plan. I'm not even thinking of trading in the veg oil burning 4x4 for a new battery powered car that won't last long, costs a fortune to manufacture and is in no way environmentally friendly.

This country is fucked up.

 

This is slighlty the wrong end of the stick, it's about cutting down local NOX pollutants in cities and not really about carbon, although cutting carbon is obviously good.

 

Sanderstorm is absolutely right.  Simplifying to clean or dirty leads to this kind of confusion.

In our cities NOx and particulates are the biggest pollutants.  Where you emit matters ie. it is local pollution.  Global warming effects is total emissions ie. where you emit doesn't matter.

Now a bike is good for both.  An electric car is good for NOx and particulates.  I am not so sure about global warming.  It probably depends on how the electricity is generated and the environmental impact of manufacture.

 

I can comment on that. As a "bit of a greenie" with a Nissan Leaf, we charge it on a renewables tarrif (so very green from an electricity generation point of view). Obviously the car and batteries take a lot of resources to manufacture but Nissan quote an extremely high recycling % for both (can't remember exactly but very high 90's) and the batteries in particular have elements that are completely extracted and re-used. Also the battery plant and car plant are in the UK.

If we are going to have cars in towns (and let's face it, we are for a long time), I would much rather have electric vehicles for the zero emissions and very low noise impact. Preferably with car share promoted as much as possible and use of bikes where practical for all journeys under 10km.

Avatar
oldstrath [858 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Rhode_Long wrote:
Sniffer wrote:
Sanderstorm wrote:
don simon wrote:

Hang on! Apart from finding 40 million quid to spend on this instead of improving the cycling infrastructure, I think that it's flawed and unworkable.

I have a field of (1,000+) trees which I'm sure makes me a carbon neutral driver. I should be allowed to take advantage of this new plan. I'm not even thinking of trading in the veg oil burning 4x4 for a new battery powered car that won't last long, costs a fortune to manufacture and is in no way environmentally friendly.

This country is fucked up.

 

This is slighlty the wrong end of the stick, it's about cutting down local NOX pollutants in cities and not really about carbon, although cutting carbon is obviously good.

 

Sanderstorm is absolutely right.  Simplifying to clean or dirty leads to this kind of confusion.

In our cities NOx and particulates are the biggest pollutants.  Where you emit matters ie. it is local pollution.  Global warming effects is total emissions ie. where you emit doesn't matter.

Now a bike is good for both.  An electric car is good for NOx and particulates.  I am not so sure about global warming.  It probably depends on how the electricity is generated and the environmental impact of manufacture.

 

I can comment on that. As a "bit of a greenie" with a Nissan Leaf, we charge it on a renewables tarrif (so very green from an electricity generation point of view). Obviously the car and batteries take a lot of resources to manufacture but Nissan quote an extremely high recycling % for both (can't remember exactly but very high 90's) and the batteries in particular have elements that are completely extracted and re-used. Also the battery plant and car plant are in the UK.

The recycling will also use a non-trivial ammount of energy of course. 

Complete replacement of the UK vehicle fleet will need a lot of material, and require substantial increases in electricity generation - maybe covering the country in windfarms might do it, or nuclear, ...

 

Quote:

If we are going to have cars in towns (and let's face it, we are for a long time), I would much rather have electric vehicles for the zero emissions and very low noise impact. Preferably with car share promoted as much as possible and use of bikes where practical for all journeys under 10km.

Clearly EV are better than ICE, but since bikes and mass transit are bettter than either, and bikes/walking have huge public health benefits, the logic of promoting electric cars ahead of them escapes me completely. Except for the buizarre car fetish that seems to afflict almost everyone in this country.

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sbillingham1 [10 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

There are very few bus lanes in Milton Keynes!  This won't provide any extra motivation to fork out on a new car!

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rnick [136 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

What a great idea, the highly paid can waft to work in their electric Range Rover / Tesla / I8 / S Class Hybrids without having to queue as long. 

 

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gonedownhill [165 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
BikingBud wrote:

"In Bristol, meanwhile, they will be permitted to use carpool lanes." - They are as congested as the other lanes, primarily with people who do not know how to count  2

 

I didn't even know there were car pool lanes in Bristol except for the 250m stretch on the A369 just before you reach the Portbury M5 junction. Where are they?

Avatar
Simon E [3101 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

"Allowing electric vehicles to use bus lanes is seen as a carrot that can entice motorists to switch to cleaner transport."

It is only a carrot for people with enough money and most of them (road.cc posters apart) drive everywhere just like the fossil-fuel ones do. From what I gather, they hurt just as much as a petrol car when they crash into you.

And they won't solve congestion issues.

I'm with Carlton Reid:

http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/sod-congestion-as-gov-t-gives-ok-for-bu...

Avatar
Andrewwd [40 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Sniffer wrote:

 

Now a bike is good for both.  An electric car is good for NOx and particulates.  

 

Electric cars still produce particulates. EU research estimates 46% of PM10 is from non-exhaust sources (brakes, tyres, road surface wear)

 

Page 73 here http://ec.europa.eu/transport/roadsafety_library/publications/particulat...

 

And from page 78 "The emission factors for non-exhaust sources of road transport can be of the same order of magnitude as those for exhaust emissions. For example, the 2000 and 2005 Type Approval exhaust emission limits for total particulate matter from diesel light-duty vehicles of 50 mg/vkm and 25 mg/vkm respectively. There are currently no legal requirements for the control of exhaust particle emissions from light-duty petrol 79 vehicles (particle mass emissions from such vehicles are very low). Given that all road vehicles are potential sources of tyre, brake and road surface wear particles, this illustrates the potential scale of emissions from these sources. This will have implications in terms policy planning and control strategies for PM10"

Avatar
Sniffer [427 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Andrewwd]</p>

<p>[quote=Sniffer

wrote:

 

Now a bike is good for both.  An electric car is good for NOx and particulates.

 

Electric cars still produce particulates. EU research estimates 46% of PM10 is from non-exhaust sources (brakes, tyres, road surface wear)

 

Interesting.  Well I suppose they might be  twice as good (or half as bad)?

It does show how hard it is to understand what the different impacts are of our choices.

Are we all agreed that bikes are a good thing for the environement?