Birmingham secures funding for e-cargo bike pilot scheme

Published: Thursday, 21st May 2020

Following a successful bid application, Birmingham City Council has secured £58,000 in government grant funding to run an e-cargo bike pilot in the city.

Following a successful bid application, Birmingham City Council has secured £58,000 in government grant funding to run an e-cargo bike pilot in the city.

It will be one of 18 local authorities to receive funding from the eCargo Bike Grant Fund Scheme, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered by the Energy Saving Trust.

Birmingham City Council, who applied for the funding in March following engagement with Business Improvement Districts, local businesses and major employers, will purchase 20 e-cargo vehicles for a pilot scheme. The pilot will provide a basis for the wider take up of e-cargo vehicles in Birmingham, as part of a broader plan to support sustainable freight vehicles and practices. 

The pilot, due to be rolled-out later this year, will be a long-term lease programme that includes maintenance and training for 13 e-cargo bikes and 7 e-cargo trikes.

75% of the new bikes will be loaned to the Council’s local partner organisations, to demonstrate how they might be used to support day-to-day operations and deliver goods and services. They include:

  • The Active Wellbeing Society – to transport equipment for re-wilding projects, food for community kitchens and equipment for community sport initiatives;
  • Aston University – to transport post and porter items around campus, replacing its current diesel van;
  • The University of Birmingham – to support its low-carbon fleet management programme;
  • Jewellery Quarter and Westside Business Improvement Districts – to transport goods and services, replacing 10 van/car trips per week, per district.

Five of the new bikes will be kept by Birmingham City Council and will replace van trips as part of a move to modernise its transport fleet.

The announcement comes shortly after the launch of Birmingham’s Emergency Transport Plan, which sets out the short, medium and longer-term actions Birmingham can take to enable a low carbon, clean air recovery from COVID-19. It prioritises and accelerates some of the measures that were outlined in the draft Birmingham Transport Plan (consulted on earlier this year), to support walking, cycling and public transport across the city.

Tim Anderson, Head of Transport at Energy Saving Trust, said: “The Department for Transport eCargo Bike Grant Fund attracted a significant number of applications. The 18 local authorities who have successfully secured funding will purchase a total of 273 eCargo bikes and nine eCargo bike trailers, enabling more businesses to benefit from access.

“eCargo bikes are an attractive low carbon transport solution which offer important benefits, most impressively fuel cost savings and contributing to improved local air quality. Last mile delivery is an important area for consideration in our journey to reduce transport emissions to net zero by 2050.”

Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Waseem Zaffar, said: “I’m really pleased that we have successfully secured funding from the Energy Saving Trust to trial e-cargo bikes in the city. Working with our partners, the pilot scheme will demonstrate how e-cargo can provide a low carbon alternative to vans and cars, which is a further step towards a cleaner, greener Birmingham.”

Steve Rose, Deputy Chief Executive of The Active Wellbeing Society said: “We are excited to be part of the eCargo bikes scheme. Our partners, volunteers and staff are busy getting around the city supporting the covid-19 relief effort. To be able to do this in a sustainable and efficient way via active travel is fantastic.

“There are so many opportunities that the eCargo bikes open up for our community delivery. These include community food and essential supplies giving and sharing initiatives, city re-wilding projects’ and helping communities with equipment to be active and play.”


Notes to Editors

The eCargo Bike Grant Fund scheme is funded by the Department for Transport and delivered by the Energy Saving Trust.

The eligibility criteria and code of practice are available at

 Birmingham’s e-cargo bike pilot scheme will run for three years. Key objectives of the pilot are:

  • To allow different organisations to use the bikes to replace van or car trips and to develop case studies for sustainable freight initiatives;
  • To maximise community impact by providing e-cargo bikes to organisations that support deprived communities;
  • To reduce the council’s environmental impact and lead by example.


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