According to a report in the Guardian, a government push to get more people cycling could see subsidies for e-bikes introduced, while there is also a desire to see electric cargo bikes delivering more packages from internet retailers instead of vans.
There is currently no government subsidy for e-bikes, but roads minister Jesse Norman told the newspaper: “We’ve done some work on that already, and I haven’t looked at the outcomes yet, and they might not be ready yet. There’s a case in principle.”
Norman also advocated delivery of smaller items being made by electric-assisted cargo bikes.
“I think e-bikes and ebikes-plus are a really interesting potential way of handling that last mile or two of deliveries.”
A 2015 report carried out by the European Cycling Logistics Federation found that about a quarter of all motorised trips for deliveries and more than half of all motorised private and commercial trips associated with the transport of goods could be shifted to cargo bikes.
Stoke-on-Trent South MP Rob Flello (whose entry in the Register of Members' interests shows donations from the Road Haulage Association) has previously rejected that claim, arguing that one van would need to be replaced by multiple cargo bikes to carry out the same volume of work.
Norman, however, can see the benefit.
“If you think about what in terms of local deliveries, a lot of these Amazon deliveries are lighter things – you don’t need a Transit van to be doing that.