R4U at UDC launches Electric Car Club in latest step to reduce air pollution in Saffron Walden

R4U’s administration at Uttlesford District Council has taken delivery of the first electric car for Saffron Walden’s new Electric Vehicle Car Club. The EV Car Club is the latest advance in UDC’s Saffron Walden Clean Air Project, funded by DEFRA with the stated aim of creating a ‘cleaner, healthier and greener’ town for everyone to enjoy.

In 2022, R4U-led Uttlesford District Council was awarded more than £500,000 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to deliver projects to tackle air pollution and support sustainable travel. The grant scheme is intended to help councils develop and implement projects to benefit schools, businesses and communities and reduce the impact of dirty air on residents’ health. As part of the programme, DEFRA has selected Saffron Walden as a showcase for other smaller towns. Amongst UDC’s projects are the trialling of a ‘try before you buy’ e-bike hire scheme, e-cargo bike hire scheme and an electric vehicle car club. These are initially being piloted in Saffron Walden and, if successful, the intention is to roll out to other areas of the district.

Neil Reeve (R4U) Neil Reeve (R4U)

R4U’s UDC Councillor Neil Reeve, UDC Portfolio Holder for the Environment and Climate Change said “For a long time Saffron Walden has had the poorest air quality in the district, which previous council administrations had failed to act on. We worked very hard for this DEFRA grant, and it is a prestigious award for UDC to get. We are also privileged that UDC’s programmes are to be a showcase for other authorities. I’m delighted that the first EV Car Club vehicle has arrived and is available for hire. It is based at the EV chargers at the front of the District Council offices in London Rd, Saffron Walden, and a second vehicle will be located on the Common car park once the EV charging points there have been upgraded. The EV Car Club is run by Co Wheels, and I am looking forward to working with them.”

Cllr Reeve continued “I urge residents to use the EV Car Club. It should reduce pollution locally and provide a local rental service for residents who have only occasional need for a car. Please go to www.co-wheels.org.uk/saffronwalden.”

Further details of the Saffron Walden Clean Air Project can be found at www.uttlesford.gov.uk/saffron-walden-clean-air-project

About Residents for Uttlesford