• Scotland’s Plugged-In Communities Fund 2022/23: Update

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    • Scotland’s Plugged-In Communities Fund 2022/23: Update
    • by David Kelly
      Director for Scotland

    Back in January, with the optimism of a new year just beginning, I blogged about the next steps for the Plugged-In Communities Grant Fund and our hopes for the future of funding for the decarbonisation of our sector.

    With the Fund’s pilot round so heavily oversubscribed, we were calling for the Scottish Government to deliver a second round of funding in 2022/23 to help more Community Transport operators purchase zero-emissions vehicles after three CTA members were successful in securing funding for new electric minibuses – Mull and Iona Community Trust, South Ayrshire Community Transport and Tagsa Uibhst.

    So all of us in Team Scotland were delighted when Jenny Gilruth MSP, who was also appointed as the new Minister for Transport in the first month of 2022, announced £1.5m of grant funding for a second round.

    The Fund will again be administered by the Energy Saving Trust (EST), which is taking registrations of interest now via pluggedinhouseholds@est.org.uk. The Fund will be open to applications for six weeks in July 2022. Successful applicants will be offered 100% of costs for up to three electric or hydrogen vehicles.

    As she confirmed the funding, Ms Gilruth said: “Whether it’s electric miles or petrol miles, we know we need to reduce car kilometres by 20% across the board to meet our climate targets.

    “Coupled with continued support for zero emission car clubs, I’m pleased we’re expanding support for community transport schemes. This will help eliminate the need for individual car ownership and ensure it’s not just the wealthiest in society who can benefit from modern EVs.

    “Over the past decade, sales of electric vehicles have grown in Scotland in line with our investment and incentivisation for early adopters. With zero emission vehicles becoming more common than at any other point, our support needs to evolve in order to help those that need it most.

    “In doing so, we’re aligning our funding streams to support a just transition to net zero, whilst delivering on our commitment to reduce overall car kilometres travelled by 20% by 2030.”

    The second round of the Plugged-In Communities Grant Fund therefore represents a strong endorsement by the Scottish Government of the Community Transport sector and its role in reducing carbon emissions, accelerating modal shift and ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change.

    From signing Scotland’s Climate Charter to joining the Cross Party Group on Sustainable Transport, we’re championing CTA and our sector as ambitious, helpful and practical partners on sustainability.

    We believe that the Community Transport sector will be an essential partner in delivering sustainable transport for all and a just transition to net zero which doesn’t leave older and disabled people, or rural and island communities, behind. This new investment is a significant and important step towards these shared goals, which can only be delivered if government and the public sector collaborate with and empower local people and communities to take climate action.

    We’re very pleased that much of your constructive feedback which we shared with Transport Scotland and the Energy Saving Trust after the pilot round has already been taken on board. We’ve been working closely with the Energy Saving Trust to improve and shape the application process and the guidance that goes alongside it. We’re also looking forward to helping to score applications in a few months’ time.

    In the meantime, please check out our FAQs below or, if you’ve got any further queries, get in touch with Team Scotland by emailing scotland@ctauk.org.

    FAQs

    Q: How much is available?

    A: £1.5m in total. There is no cap on the value of grants (within reason). But organisations will only be able to apply for a maximum of three vehicles.

    Q: What types of vehicles are covered by the Fund?

    A: Zero emission cars, vans, light goods vehicles, buses, mopeds, and motorbikes. It does not cover e-bikes, ferries, boats or scooters. You can find out more about funding for e-bikes here.

    Q: What counts as a recognised community transport organisation?

    A: EST can ‘sense check’ your organisation and validate that you are currently carrying out the services offered.

    Q: What counts as community transport?

    A: The Fund defines community transport groups as ‘not for profit groups and organisations that provide a transport service when there is no public transport available or if available public transport is limited and/or does not meet the needs of everyone in the community’.

    Q: We are not yet running a community transport service but are looking at setting one up. Can we apply?

    A: The Fund is for established community transport operators only.

    Q: How do we apply for charge points?

    A: You can find out more about funding options here or get free advice here. If you already have charging infrastructure in place, or can utilise shared assets, to support an electric vehicle and do not require charge point funding, you can still apply.

    Q: I am a successful grantee/unsuccessful applicant from last year’s funding. Can I still apply this year?

    A: Yes.

    Q: We are interested in applying for a hydrogen vehicle, how do we go about doing this?

    A: Contact a Sustainable Transport Coordinator at EST here.

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