By Leah Conway – KLTV Contributor
The future of electric vehicles underpins the Council’s plans to achieve this goal.
Kirklees Council’s Current Action
Kirklees Council has partnered with the four other West Yorkshire Authorities and West Yorkshire Combined Authority. They have committed to the delivery of a strategic taxi and public rapid charging network.
Across 17 sites, the Council have installed a 12 chargers.
In the past Kirklees Council partnered with the district’s hospitals and hotel industry. As a result, they installed 17 chargers at 15 different sites.
Plans for the Future
In addition, a further five installations planned. In 2021, the Council will install an additional four chargers. Bringing the total to 21 chargers across the district.
The Council’s goals are to be the leader in the Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure.
How Will the Council Achieve This?
The Council is working on an evidence-based Electric Vehicle Strategy for the district to future improvements meet local needs.
The recently employed, Regional West Yorkshire Low Emission office will collaborate with West Yorkshire authorities. Together they will deliver local and regional air quality projects to update the west Yorkshire low emission strategy.
An Investment in the Future
In addition to policy, the Council has supported its environmental goals financially. The Council dedicated £2 million towards public infrastructure and its own fleet of electric vehicles.
An additional 20 rapid chargers and 20 fast charges will be installed with £1 million of the funding.
The Council has already made progress towards a greener future. They have built a fleet of 20 electric cars, five electric vans, and 50 hybrid cars currently in use. Recently, the Council has ordered a further 35 electric vans.
The Council is exploring alternative ways to keep on moving forward. Alongside electric, they are looking at how to make their HGVs more environmentally friendly. The Council has outlined Hydrogen-powered vehicles as a possible option.
The Future of Kirklees:
These investments would make a transition to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) and a greener future possible. Furthermore, the Council hopes that their investment will encourage residents to make the switch to electric vehicles.
In addition, investment in electric vehicles and chargers could open up possibilities for a more accessible West Yorkshire. It could attract more visitors once they know that their personal commitment to ULEV is supported through a network of unrestricted vehicle charging points.
‘A Cleaner and Greener Kirklees’
Councillor Paul Davies, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, said:
“As a council, we are absolutely committed to delivering a network of electric vehicle charge points across Kirklees and ensuring we demonstrate leadership by converting our council fleet and equipment to ULEV equivalents.
“We believe that this move and allowing access to free parking whilst charging, will give residents the confidence to switch to ULEV. ULEV are the future and compared to petrol/diesel equivalents will greatly contribute to improvements in air quality so it’s right that we encourage as many people as we can to make the switch by offering the infrastructure needed to enable change.
“Together we can improve local air quality and contribute to a low carbon future within a cleaner and greener Kirklees.”
To ensure progress continues outside of the Council’s capital investment, all new building developments with parking, that have applied for planning permission within Kirklees are required to have charging points for electric vehicles installed.
This has been standard practice since 2014. It is also included within the Local Plan policy to ensure the district’s progress towards a green and sustainable future.
The Council’s commitment to ULEV dates back to even 2008. Kirklees being one of the first West Yorkshire authorities to offer free parking to all ULEV car users within selected car parks. An act that has since inspired others to make the change and do the same.