Electric scooters, bikes and hydrogen powered buses could soon be coming to parts of Birkenhead.
The plans, which form part of the Wirral Waters mass transit scheme, could see electronic scooters, e-bikes and a hydrogen powered bus system similar to light rail in the Tower Road area of Birkenhead.
The scheme, which was approved after a meeting of Wirral Council’s Economy, Regeneration and Development committee last week, will see Liverpool City Region Combined authority asked to include the scheme in their Bus Service Improvement plan being submitted to the government later this month.
Mass transit schemes, aimed at moving large numbers of people across an area using public transport networks, can include buses, trains, ferries and active travel including cycling.
As well as a hydrogen-powered bus rapid transit network, the proposals could also see e-cycle and e-scooter schemes adopted, subject to legislative changes – as well as improved links for walking and cycling.
A Wirral Council spokesperson said: “Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system could be an initial option for ‘mass transit’ to meet demand in the coming years, ahead of potentially developing a higher capacity general transport network over the longer term linking to the existing public transport provision.
“Addressing transport is a priority for the borough as demand grows with the development of Wirral Waters and the regeneration of Birkenhead and surrounding areas.
“The initial phase of the Wirral Mass Transit system has been devised to address the requirements of new developments likely to be in place by 2023 and shortly thereafter, expected to be concentrated in and around the Northbank and Tower Road areas of Wirral Waters, the Eureka! Science + Discovery museum at Seacombe and certain new residential and commercial development within Birkenhead town centre and Wallasey.”
The council said the move could help the borough meet its climate emergency commitment to transition to fossil fuel free local travel by around 2030.
Wirral Waters, where the scheme would be based, is part of a large regeneration within a recently designated Freeport area which is a significant component of Wirral’s emerging Local Plan, outlining how the borough will meet housing needs in future years.
Chair of the Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee Clle Tony Jones said: “This area has been poorly served by public transport in the past but now there is growing demand in this neighbourhood and this report outline how the authority aims to ensure people can use sustainable transport to complete their journeys.
“We are on the cusp of seeing a real step change in the Wirral Waters site as well as the surrounding areas as our ambitions for major regeneration forge ahead and ensuring public transport meets the needs of people from the outset will be a key element of seeing this become a success.”
Director of Development for Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters RIchard Mawdsley said: “Given our stated ambition for Wirral Waters to be one of the most sustainable regeneration projects in the UK, we welcome investment in an appropriate, scalable, low-cost and low carbon mass transit solution that addresses ‘last-mile’ connectivity.”
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