Northern Ireland news

Electric cars for business use may be allowed to enter bus lanes

Electric cars for business use may be allowed to enter bus lanes as part of attempts to increase their uptake
John Monaghan

ELECTRIC cars used by businesses may be allowed to enter bus lanes in future, as part of attempts to encourage their use.

Infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard said while his department "does not have any immediate plans" to allow all electric cars to use bus lanes, that may change for business vehicles.

He said: "Consideration may be given in the future to allow a small number of heavily-branded pure electric car pool vehicles to use bus lanes in a continued drive to encourage employers to switch to using electric vehicles for business purposes.

"This intervention would be designed to increase visibility of electric vehicles carrying out day-to-day business activity, promote use and encourage new users."

Responding to a question from Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff, the minister said several incentives for drivers to purchase electric vehicles were already in place including grants of up to £4,500.

There are also tax exemptions and grants to set up home charging points.

Last year The Irish News revealed that councils bought just 15 electric vehicles despite the government spending millions of pounds urging drivers to make the switch.

Launched in late 2011, the push for electric cars has involved more than 350 charging points being installed across the north.

In 2014 it emerged that about one in five public charging points had never been used, while almost two-thirds had been used no more than 10 times, according to figures up until the end of 2013.

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Northern Ireland news