North East Region on the road to a low carbon future

New initiatives promote electric vehicles and sustainable transport in the North East Region and the surrounding area

• North East Combined Authority area shortlisted for share of £35m government funding

• Key step in boosting uptake of plug-in electric vehicles across the UK

The North East Combined Authority is bidding for a share of £35 million worth of government funding after making the shortlist to become one of the UK’s first Go Ultra Low Cities. The region is already leading the way with its green agenda, and plans to boost the area’s eco-credentials further could see residents and the transport authority making a substantial difference to the local environment and quality of life.

The North East Region has pioneered a series of schemes with the aim of accelerating the uptake of ultra low emission cars and vans by both business operators and private car users. We are building upon initiatives such as the Plugged in Places Project which saw the installation of over 1,000 charge points in the North East, in order to make electric vehicles a practical and viable choice for many local motorists.

Andrew Jones, Transport Minister said: “Plug-in cars are green, cheap to run and an increasingly popular choice for both families and businesses.

“The North East Combined Authority area has the opportunity to lead the way in boosting their uptake and supporting jobs and growth. The government is doing its bit by committing £500 million over the next five years in making ultra low emission vehicles an accessible and affordable choice for all.”

With the average commute less than 10 miles and the cost of running an electric car as low as 2p per mile, the ‘Going Ultra Low North East’ Partnership has put forward a series of new ideas for consideration by the UK government. As part of the national Go Ultra Low Cities scheme, the new ideas aim to transform the local plug-in car market, raising the status of the North East Region as a leading green champion.

The multi-million pound proposal will see an improvement in the priority for electric vehicles with a significant increase in the number, location and speed of charging points. The wide-ranging package put forward in the ‘Going Ultra Low North East’ project is designed to promote a significant uplift in the use of ultra low emission vehicles. Improved infrastructure, and application of the latest technology will ensure the area is a national and international leader in the provision of facilities for plug in vehicles. The proposals will have a distinct focus on improving air quality, and the NECA will work with both businesses and commuters to make low emission vehicles a viable choice for the widest range of users. Councillor Nick Forbes, Transport Lead Member for the North East Combined Authority, said: “We are committed to promoting the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles as part of our long-term transport strategy. Being shortlisted for Go Ultra Low City status is an important step in gaining recognition as one of the most sustainable regions in Europe.

“Not only will the initiatives adopted by the North East Combined Authority and its partners help bring low-cost motoring to thousands more motorists, they will also transform people’s quality of life by reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality in our region.”

Set up by the Government and led by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), the £35 million Go Ultra Low Cities scheme will reward up to four of twelve shortlisted cities that present most potential to achieve ‘exemplar status’ – becoming internationally outstanding examples for the adoption of ultra low emission, plug-in vehicles in a local area.

The initiative will also recognise cities that best demonstrate how their plans could be rolled out across their region and even throughout the UK. Additionally, each set of proposals should complement existing schemes in the area and should fit with other low carbon efforts such as funding to improve bus and taxi emissions. Those cities that address local air quality issues will also be considered favourably when the winner is announced in autumn this year.

Hetal Shah, Head of Go Ultra Low, a joint campaign by Government and the UK automotive industry promoting ultra low emission vehicles, said: “Innovative schemes such as those proposed by local authority leaders in the North East Combined Authority are vital for increasing motorists’ awareness of the efficiency, variety and practicality of ultra low emission vehicles. We look forward to working with the winning cities to establish the UK as a global leader in the uptake of these vehicles.”

Registrations of plug-in cars have accelerated rapidly in the UK over the first half of 2015, growing 256% against the same period last year and surpassing the 2014 full-year total with six months to spare. The initiatives proposed by the Going Ultra Low North East Partnership demonstrate a long-term commitment to provide the infrastructure that will support the growing popularity of ultra low emission vehicles in the region.

Go Ultra Low exists to help motorists understand the benefits, cost savings and capabilities of the variety of new ultra low emission vehicles on the market. The collaborative campaign is the first of its kind, bringing together a consortium of seven leading car manufacturers (Audi, BMW, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen), Government and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Further information about ultra low emission vehicles, charge point locations, test-drive options, and purchase incentives can be found at