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Scotland plans to have 20 new ‘electric towns’ by 2025

Scotland plans to have 20 new ‘electric towns’ by 2025

The Scottish Government has announced an expansion of its Switched on Towns and Cities initiative to help create 20 new ‘electric towns’ by 2025 to support local communities to increase electric vehicle uptake.

The scheme was unveiled by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as she announced £16.7 million of additional funding to help Scotland “lead the way in transforming to a low carbon country”.

A total of £15 million will be invested in new charging infrastructure, installing more than 1,500 new electric charge points in homes, businesses and public spaces. Additionally, £1.7 million will be invested in more than 100 new green buses.

Last year’s Programme for Government committed to set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the electrification of the road network, with the aim of removing the need for new petrol or diesel cars or vans on Scotland’s roads by 2032.

The First Minister confirmed in this year’s Programme for Government that the additional money would also be invested to significantly increase the number of green buses across the country and improve the access to electric charging points in homes, businesses and public spaces - ensuring that people saw electric vehicles as “an attractive, cost-effective alternative to those traditionally run on petrol and diesel”.

The First Minister made the announcement at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), which is committed to reducing its carbon footprint with plans to introduce up to 100 ultra-low emission plug-in vehicles to its light fleet. The SFRS is currently working with the Transport Scotland Switched on Fleet Programme to deliver its ambitions.

The SFRS is also actively looking at how it could utilise its 356 fire stations across the country to support the ongoing development of charging networks across Scotland’s communities.

Ms Sturgeon said: “In last year’s Programme for Government we committed to remove the need for petrol and diesel cars and vans on Scotland’s roads by 2032. Electrifying the road network and transforming the way we travel is vital to reducing our carbon emission, tackling climate change and improving air quality.

“Last year’s Programme for Government set out our ambition as a country and some key steps including making the A9 Scotland’s first electric trunk road.

“This year we want to go further still, and through the package of support we’re announcing in this year’s Programme for Government, as well as our continued investment of £1 billion a year in low carbon and public transport, more people will be able to play their part in putting Scotland at the forefront of low carbon travel.

“As part of our public fleet I’m pleased our emergency services are playing a leading role in adopting low emission vehicles - setting an example for other parts of the public and private sectors.

“Through continued investment, and work to encourage communities to embrace the social change required, we can make our towns and cities more desirable places to live and work in, and develop a sustainable future for younger generations.”

The Switched on Towns and Cities programme supports intensive capital activity to create electric towns and cities, enabling a step change in electric vehicle uptake.

The new funding comes on top of £20 million that is being made available to help people make the transition to electric vehicles and away from methods of transport that rely on harmful fossil fuels and £4.8 million of grant funding to deploy 500 new ultra-low emission vehicles into the public sector fleet.