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How is Yorkshire Enhancing Travel Across the Country?

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Plans are being developed to transform the network of public EV charging points in North Yorkshire. Quadrant Transport explores how this will help the UK to slash carbon emissions and help reach our net zero targets.

Supporting public transport in making a move to EVs and investigating how more council vehicles can make the transition, North Yorkshire County Council is focusing on addressing the challenges the switch to EVs face.

Some of these challenges are specific to North Yorkshire, including the deeply rural nature of parts of the county, the level of grid connection and capacity available, and the high number of residents who rely on on-street parking.

North Yorkshire’s Needs To See Carbon Reduction To Meet 2030 Target

Executive Member for Climate Change, Councillor Greg White, said: “We are committed to carbon neutrality, setting ourselves the target of achieving this by as close as possible to 2030. In July, we declared a climate emergency.”

This followed years of work to cut our carbon footprint, resulting in a significant reduction across the authority of 55 per cent since 2015. We are working to continue this reduction to meet our 2030 ambition.

North Yorkshire is focusing on the improvements in public electric charging infrastructure, the development of public transport and the conversion of its own fleet to EV. The public is expected to be consulted on a draft EV infrastructure roll-out strategy later this year.

Upgrades To Charging Infrastructure Will Support Decarbonisation

After a successful bid for more than £2 million from the UK Government’s Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund Pilot scheme, 70 charging points with battery storage powered by renewable energy will be paid for.

These will be installed across the country at rural locations that the council say would be prohibitive and unattractive to the private sector. There will be an opportunity for the council to bid for more money from the full fund in 2023.

In addition to this, the authority has also succeeded in a joint bid with Harrogate Bus Company to the UK Government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas Fund (ZEBRA) to improve commercial bus services.

Harrogate Bus Company already runs eight battery electric buses, and this £20 million scheme will see its entire Harrogate local bus operation converted, along with upgrades to charging infrastructure in their depot and at Harrogate bus station.

Over the next two years, 20 new single-deck and 19 double-deck electric buses will be introduced on routes in the Harrogate area. It will include the four air quality management areas in Ripon, Harrogate and Knaresborough and will result in immediate air quality improvements.

The development work and experience from the ZEBRA project will also inform plans for the council’s contracted services, such as home-to-school transport.

North Yorkshire Council Will Be Upgrading Its Own Fleet

Looking at its own fleet of more than 400 vehicles, the council has placed an order of ten EVs for its fleet of pool cars. Elsewhere in the fleet, the range of ultra-low and zero emission minibuses of the type used in local bus services is said to be not yet good enough to enable their use on current routes. There are a few options for large good EVs for uses such as refuse collection.

However, discussions are planned with vehicle suppliers to identify the power requirements of various waste collection routes to inform the more appropriate mix of new refuse collection vehicles following the creation of the new North Yorkshire Council, which will replace the county council and eight district and borough councils next April.