Somerset West and Taunton Council submitted a proposal for an e-scooter trial scheme in line with its commitment to climate and environmental responsibility, working towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) Council has been granted approval from the UK Department for Transport (DfT) to run a 12-month e-scooter trial scheme in Taunton.
Irish micro-mobility start-up Zipp Mobility has been awarded the contract to operate the scheme in the county town of Somerset which is due to commence later this month (October).
E-scooters were made legal for use on UK roads, cycle lanes and cycle tracks in selected trial areas in July 2020. Since then, more than 35 local authorities are reported to have submitted bids to the DfT, including SWT Council. It submitted a proposal for an e-scooter trial scheme in line with its commitment to climate and environmental responsibility, working towards achieving carbon neutrality and climate resilience by 2030.
“SWT is in the process of approving a district-wide plan as part of its commitment to tackling climate change, and has already implemented several initiatives to help create a more sustainable future for everyone,” said councillor Peter Pilkington, executive member for climate, SWT Council.
“I am delighted that we have been successful in our bid to be part of the trial scheme and to have secured Zipp Mobility as our operator. E-scooters offer a cleaner, low carbon alternative to cars and provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.”
According to Zipp, its e-scooter has been carefully designed with safety in mind. It features an aircraft-grade aluminium frame, 10-inch airless tyres, a swappable battery, dual braking, a wide base and low centre of gravity. The scooters are also equipped with anti-viral handlebar wraps that the start-up claims to kill 99.98 per cent of coronaviruses to help eliminate Covid-19 transmission risk.
“E-scooters offer a cleaner, low carbon alternative to cars and provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic”
“Somerset West and Taunton Council’s commitment to work towards carbon neutrality by 2030 is among the most ambitious in the country,” added Will O’Brien, vice-president of growth and government affairs, Zipp Mobility.
“We are excited to work with such an environmentally-conscious local authority and help them on their journey to meeting this goal through the delivery of a world-class e-scooter trial.”
In advance of the e-scooter trial scheme going live, SWT Council and Zipp Mobility will be holding a series of training and education days for members of the public. In addition to this, the council and Zipp intend to engage with local representatives and groups to ensure this trial is tailor-made for the area and has a positive impact on the community.
The hired vehicles can only be used within set geographical boundaries, so traffic regulation orders (TROs) are being amended by SWT Council in order to be ready to start the trial. The DfT has stipulated that only e-scooters involved in the trials can be used in public areas, it remains illegal to use privately owned e-scooters in a public space.
SWT Council and Zipp Mobility are working with the Avon and Somerset Police to help educate people about these laws.
Zipp Mobility, founded by Charlie Gleeson in 2019, is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin (UCD). The company is also an Enterprise Ireland High-Potential Start-Up (HPSU) client company.
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