Electric vehicle drivers should be allowed to use bus lanes, claims councillor

A city councillor has sparked debate by claiming electric vehicles should be allowed to use bus lanes, as an incentive to get more on the road.

Bus lane in London GETTY

A city councillor says electric vehicles should be allowed to use bus lanes

Leicester city councillor Rob Green suggested more residents would purchase less-polluting cars if they were permitted to avoid traffic by using the restricted areas.

Making the comments at a full council meeting, the Leicester Mercury reported that the councillor asked: “Has the council considered allowing zero and low emission vehicles such electric and plug-in hybrids to use bus lanes encouraging the switch to vehicles that have no or marginal impact on air quality?"

Deputy mayor Cllr Adam Clarke responded by admitting the concept had been considered but it had raised issues.

He said: “The short answer is that we have looked at whether this would be something we would want to forward.

“Cllr Ross Willmott, when he was chairman of the scrutiny commission last year, considered this and looked at evidence around it.

“I was very aware of the evidence and reflected on that.

“It is true Nottingham is embarking on a process of delivering a similar scheme to the one suggested.

Bus lane PA

The Deputy mayor admitting the concept had been considered but it had raised issues

“I would be mindful of the view of the RAC Foundation and its spokesman said recently we need to be aware of the risk of allowing electric vehicles access to bus lanes as well as to free parking because it can be at odds with other policies for promoting public transport.”

Cllr Clarke also said administering such a scheme might be difficult because of the amount of the technology the council would need to implement.

“It could create confusion in terms of other vehicles seeing what looks like a normal car in a bus lane,” he added.

“There are issues we must consider.

“It’s not something we would rule out in the long term but at the moment bus lanes should be primarily for buses."

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