Scotland

Scottish cities 'pollution-free in decade'

Self-driving car Image copyright AP
Image caption Simon Tricker said self-driving cars could be commonplace by 2030

Self-driving electric cars could reduce air pollution to almost zero in Scotland's cities within the next decade, an expert has predicted.

Simon Tricker, of "smart cities" specialist UrbanTide, said the vehicles could also make car parks obsolete.

Mr Tricker believes self-driving cars are likely to be commonplace by 2030.

He was speaking ahead of Scottish Renewables' first low-carbon cities conference, which will be held in Edinburgh in February.

"Scottish local authorities are already thinking about what city streets will look like in a decade's time - and the answers are pretty astounding," he said.

"Self-driving cars won't need parking spaces in cities - they're likely to be rented rather than owned and will just head off and carry out their next journey after dropping passengers off.

"Many car parking spaces which we now take for granted will simply become obsolete.

"The pace at which electric vehicle technology is developing means they're also likely to be electric, so will produce zero emissions as they're driven."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Electric vehicles are predicted to reduce pollution in Scottish cities in the coming years

Other speakers at the Edinburgh conference include Asa Karlsson Bjorkmarker, deputy mayor of Vaxjo, in Sweden, who will speak about her experiences of leading Europe's "greenest city".

Rachelle Money, from Scottish Renewables, said: "With the bulk of Scotland's power now coming from renewable energy and a new Scottish Climate Change Bill in the offing, Scotland continues to lead the way in building a low-carbon economy.

"Scottish Renewables' first ever low-carbon cities conference explores the many opportunities for Scotland's cities to embrace the transition to a sustainable, clean, green economy, reducing energy costs and tackling fuel poverty, while attracting low-carbon investment and jobs, and building our industries of the future.

"Cities across Scotland are already forging ahead with ground-breaking projects to decarbonise their energy supplies, and this conference will share the experiences of some of those initiatives."

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