A successful bid by Leeds city council, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Bradford council secures Department for Transport and Energy Saving Trust’s grant to fund 32 new electric-cargo (e-cargo) bikes to the value of £160,000.
The Energy Saving Trust’s £2m fund in England last year aims to help businesses and local authorities purchase cargo bikes in an effort to combat congestion and pollution in city centres.
Leeds city council and Bradford council adopted the e-cargo bike loan scheme in March 2021 and has since provided many local businesses the opportunity to trial the new delivery method. E-cargo bikes can deliver financial savings of up to 90% compared to the cost of a running an equivalent commercial vehicle with no fuel tax, MOT, fuel and parking costs.
Leeds University were the first organisation to adopt the scheme in Leeds and were loaned three e-cargo bikes, a trike and two long wheel base for quick, cheap, green deliveries.
The trial scheme allows organisations to experience how e-cargo bikes could provide a cost-effective alternative to cars and vans for heavy, bulky local deliveries. Each bike allows for up to 40 miles assisted cycling and has a load capacity of up to 100kg or 900 litres.
Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, said: “This offer to businesses to trial e-cargo bikes for local delivery solutions could be revolutionary. In March I was fortunate enough to try riding a e-cargo trike. I found it to be easy to do in everyday clothes and, despite a heavy load in the bike box, a really easy ride. The additional 32 e-cargo bikes funded by the grant scheme will allow more businesses in West Yorkshire to ‘try-before-you-buy’.
With so many employees continuing to work from home following the pandemic, investing in a e-cargo bike could be far more cost-effective for businesses who operate in and around the city centre without needing to pay for vehicle related costs and benefit from very little maintenance costs.
Its projects like this that will help us achieve our ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2030 as well as our vision of Leeds being a city where you don’t need a car.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: "In my manifesto, I committed to tackling the climate emergency. I am delighted that businesses in West Yorkshire will benefit from the opportunity to be even more sustainable through innovative technology such as e-cargo bikes and be part of our aim of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038."
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of West Yorkshire Transport Committee, said: "We are proud to be working with partners to bring the opportunity for employers in West Yorkshire to use innovative technology such as e-cargo bikes as part of their day-to-day work, and make use of the fantastic new cycling routes being delivered in the region.
"We know that the more short journeys made by bike, and on foot, will make our city centres cleaner and more pleasant places to be, and be part of our ambition to become a net zero carbon economy by 2038.”
Cllr Alex Ross Shaw, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “With our plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2038, we must explore and adapt to effective alternative modes of transport. E-cargo bikes are proof that deliveries can be carried out without the use of a van and are so much cheaper to run. So, we are delighted to have received this funding, as it will enable us to further develop the role of e-cargo bikes for local business. We will also be using some of the e-cargo bikes within our own fleet, for example, our outdoor education centres plan to use an e-cargo bike instead of a van to move equipment around for outdoor education sessions.
“The bikes have already been allocated to organisations in our district. However, some will be available via local organisations to be borrowed by other businesses locally. Any Bradford businesses interested in using an e-cargo bike or wishing to find out more can email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Local business in Leeds can register their interest to borrow one or more of the bikes to meet their delivery needs by emailing ECargoBikeTrials@Leeds.gov.uk.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority runs a ‘Bike Friendly Business’ scheme, which includes support for buying e-cargo bikes. Please see here for more details.
The council-funded scheme is part of a wider programme of initiatives being carried out to support greener, healthier travel in Leeds. Active travel schemes Leeds City Council are implementing with partners include: permanent protected bike lane provision installation on key routes, new cycle parking facilities well as cycle training. For more details on these elements visit: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/campaign/safe-streets-save-lives.