This is how many electric cars are on Preston's roads

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Drivers are getting on board the green revolution in Preston with a big rise in electric vehicle ownership.

But with the eco-friendly motors still making up a small share of the market, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has called for measures to drive up their use.

Department for Transport statistics show that 266 ultra-low emission vehicles were licensed in Preston at the end of September

Department for Transport statistics show that 266 ultra-low emission vehicles were licensed in Preston at the end of September

Department for Transport statistics show that 266 ultra-low emission vehicles were licensed in Preston at the end of September – 43 per cent more than at the same point a year earlier.

The figures include battery electric, hybrid, and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Across the UK, 247,000 such vehicles were licensed at the end of September – a 33 per cent rise on the previous year.

They include 70,000 which were registered in the last year – just 2.4 per cent of 3m new vehicles overall.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said the industry was committed to zero-emission transport, but urged the Government to encourage uptake.

“Ambition must be matched by a world-class package of initiatives that encourage investment and innovation and allow manufacturers to sell competitively,” he added.

“This includes long-term government commitment to incentives and substantial investment in infrastructure.”

In 2018, the Government announced its ambition for at least half of new cars to be ultra-low emission by 2030.

But later in the year, it announced cuts to subsidies for green vehicles, scrapping a £2,500 grant for plug-in hybrids and slashing one for fully electric vehicles from £4,500 to £3,500.

A DfT spokeswoman said: “Between April 2015 and July 2019, the number of new registered ultra-low emission vehicles has increased four-fold, with more than 228,000 now on UK roads, 180,000 more than in 2015.

“Last year, battery vehicles more than doubled and we’re doubling our efforts to make owning an electric vehicle the new normal.”

Company-owned vehicles can be registered to a firm’s location, so a change of address can lead to big changes in the DfT figures at a local level.