Green motoring schemes announced

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The Independent Online

New initiatives to turn motoring greener and create thousands of jobs were announced today by the Government.

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon invited car companies to bid for the opportunity to participate in a £10m project to run electric car and ultra-low carbon vehicle demonstration projects, overseen by the Technology Strategy Board.

The project will also see around 100 electric cars provided to various towns and cities to allow families and other motorists the opportunity to give feedback on the practical steps needed to make greener motoring an everyday reality.

Building on an announcement made by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in July this year, today's plans could lead to the creation of 10,000 new British jobs and help preserve many thousands more.

The green-motoring initiative is part of a wider Government plan to make the most of the low-carbon economy, with estimates that around a million green jobs could be generated by 2030.

The Government also said today that up to £20m had been dedicated to UK research into improving technology that could make electric and other green cars more practical and affordable.

This follows the publication of new research which concludes that, correctly managed, the UK power system could support widespread use of electric cars and their charging needs without requiring large numbers of new power stations.

The Government has already committed to removing the barriers that could slow a changeover to greener motoring.

This includes a commitment to facilitate the roll-out of charging infrastructure through the planning system and to collaborating with other countries to develop international standards and consider how best to encourage the right consumer market to promote electric and other low carbon vehicles.

Work also continues with energy companies and the National Grid to assess the impact on the electricity system of the widespread use of electric-drive vehicles.

To encourage the mass production of green vans for the first time, the Department for Transport also announced today that a number of companies have been shortlisted to bid to provide electric and low-carbon vans to some councils and other public sector bodies, like the Royal Mail, as part of a £20m programme to ensure all road transport emissions are reduced.

Liverpool, Newcastle, Gateshead, Coventry, Glasgow and Leeds will be among the first councils to trial green vans on their streets.

The companies are:

* Ford Motor Company

* Ashwoods

* Mercedes-Benz UK

* LDV Group

* Citroen UK

* Nissan UK

* Allied Vehicles

* Land Rover

* Smith Electric Vehicles