RAC Cars News


Clean And Green Scotland

By raccars Published

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The Scottish government has thrown down the gauntlet to combustion engines by launching a new programme to reduce environmental pollution, mostly through the promotion of electric and lower emissions vehicles over traditional engines.

A report outlining the plan's main aims includes making Scotland emission free by 2050. It predicts that half of traditional combustion engine equipped cars will be obsolete by 2030 and that almost all new cars bought by 2040 will be ultra low or zero emissions.

The government is introducing a range of measures to help it accomplish its aims, including help for businesses and individuals, to encourage them to buy electric. While residents of England and Wales are seeing their £5,000 electric car subsidy phased out, Scotland will continue the grant scheme and even expand it by offering a 100% subsidy for the installation of a home charging point. Vans are eligible for an £8,000 grant.

In order to lead by example, Scotland's government has committed £14 million to update its own vehicle network over the next two years. Petrol and diesel models in its own fleet will be replaced with electric vehicles and charging stations will be fitted to all major government buildings.

The 'Switched on Scotland' report also claims that consumers will be supported by reduced fares on the Mull and Bute ferry routes for electric vehicles and a support department advising motorists considering buying electric of the benefits and advantages of doing so. Along with exemption from road tax and environmental benefits, electric cars reduce running costs from an average 16p per mile to 2 or 3p. The Scottish government considers the push to electric vital to achieve its ambitious environmental targets and to encourage a burgeoning green technology industry. However, opponents to the plan have argued that investment into existing transport infrastructure would be a better use of funds and have referenced Norwegian research suggesting that electric vehicles may not be as clean and green as they fist appear.

Modern electric vehicles, such as the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf, have suffered from slow uptake in the UK in general, but with research showing that average journeys in Scotland tend to be shorter, it seems residents there will be less affected by the potential range limitations that make electric vehicles unattractive to other buyers. Limited battery life means electric cars are only really suitable for urban environments elsewhere, but about a third of car journeys in Scotland are said to be less than two miles' distance and almost a quarter are under one mile, meaning range restrictions should be less of an issue.

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