Highgate Christmas trees collected by electric cars in campaign to boost air quality on the roads

Transport secretary Grant Shapps (right) and Go Ultra Low ambassador Ben Fogle helped launch the Chr

Transport secretary Grant Shapps (right) and Go Ultra Low ambassador Ben Fogle helped launch the Christmas tree collection service in Highgate. Picture: Go Ultra Low - Credit: Archant

Christmas trees in Highgate were collected by electric vans yesterday (January 7) to champion the use of zero-emission cars.

The festive spirit was extended into the New Year as carbon-neutral vehicles transported the trees to collection points and recycling centres.

The service was provided as part of a joint government campaign Go Ultra Low which is promoting more drivers to turn electric.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps told the Ham&High: "It's the idea of introducing people to how it's possible to go completely electric and remove carbon from our transport system which is the most polluting sector of our entire society.

"I drive an electric car myself and its absolutely fantastic. There's no reason not to drive them, they're briliant to drive.

"I can drive from London to Manchester for about £6 or £7 whereas filling up (a petrol/diesel car), that is very expensive."

Camden Council environment chief Adam Harrison urged Camden residents to reduce carbon emissions on the road and pointed to the electric 214 bus route that runs through Kentish Town and Camden Town as a positive move.

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"Every time you have an electric vehicle rather than petrol or diesel you get immediate improvement in air quality," he said.

"We've asked everybody who has a role in creating pollution to bring about less.

"We need to do more and it was a great opportunity for us to speak to the secretary of state about some of the changes we need, the first of which is that we need extra funding to be able to install charging points.

"We also flagged processes around allocated parking bays for electric vehicles only. Some of these processes are very onerous and time-consuming, there's a lot of red tape."

Go Ultra Low ambassador and broadcaster Ben Fogle added: "Using a service like this is an ideal way for people to make a small change, that collectively could add up to make a big difference.

"The New Year is a great time to reflect and consider making more sustainable choices."

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show the the sales of electric cars rose by 144 per cent in 2019.

In Camden there are 139 electric vehicle charging points.