E-bike plan will cut emissions by 20 per cent in Southend Leave a comment

ELECTRIC bikes could soon be a common sight on Southend streets as council bosses look to cut traffic by 20 per cent.

In an effort to go green and reduce emissions, the e-bikes would be available to hire, with workers encouraged to use them in the town centre.

Key workers including hospital staff would be offered free journeys while office workers would be encouraged to park outside the town centre and ride in.

The plan has yet to be agreed, but Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council, is examining the plans in the coming weeks.

Kay Mitchell, Labour councillor for Milton ward, revealed her plans last week, which will also see council vehicles, such as bin lorries, become electric.

She said: “The e-bikes are part of a wider scheme to improve the air quality.

“We have to look at innovative ideas.

“It’s aimed at key workers and care home workers specifically. A lot of key workers really struggle to park at the moment.

“We need to make use of cycle paths, but they need to be connected up to each other.

“We have a lot of cycle paths, but they don’t all connect up.”

Mrs Mitchell’s motion, which landed on council desks last week, called for a “trial of low cost or free use of e-bikes for key workers and job seekers”.

The motion included a wish to move to electric vehicles across the council fleet and contractors as soon as possible.

The plan follows an e-scooter hire scheme in Basildon which saw more than 1,300 trips in the first two months.

Peter Wexham, Lib Dem councillor for Leigh ward, backed the plans, adding: “The town is choc-a-block with cars.

“This will help reduce that.

“Our roads are designed for cars, but you need to encourage cyclists onto them at the same time.

“We need to do some sort of deal where companies who will provide the e-bikes.”

It’s not yet been revealed whether the e-bikes will be docked at the end of each day, or left at the side of the roads – as the e-scooters are in Basildon.

Mr Woodley, Independent councillor for Thorpe, added: “When the motion comes to my committee, I can properly look at it then.

“We have to keep all our options open.”

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