A NEW community resource is enabling villagers to make local journeys that are more eco-friendly and free. 

The fully electric Citroen E-Space 9-seater van has been purchased by Tidenham Parish Council and is available for community groups in the parish, near Chepstow, to use. 

It has been funded through Section 106 money distributed by the Forest Council.

Councillor Chris McFarling (Green/St Briavels), Forest Council Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency, said: “Community transport offers enormous social and economic benefits and plays a vital role in fulfilling the travel needs for many people.

“Offering transport options with little or no emissions, and which enable journeys to be shared, brings additional environmental benefits by reducing mileage and improving air quality.

“We hope projects like this will inspire others to look at opportunities for sustainable transport and the benefits that can be delivered."

Councillor Jan Koning, Tidenham Council chairwoman, said: “We are excited to be launching the community electric van which has been made possible due to funding obtained through the Forest Council and would like to thank the council for its generous help and support.

“Those living in rural communities, especially the elderly and the young, can struggle to access easy and affordable transport so we hope this new resource will make a real difference.”  

Parish Councillor Michael Swambo added: “Older members of our community would like to attend events and activities locally such as lunchtime clubs, but the costs for a taxi or the long wait times for a limited number of available buses can be a barrier.

“We hope the new vehicle will be a catalyst to bring more people together for the benefit of their health and wellbeing and help them do so in a more sustainable way.”  

It is hoped that the vehicle will also help get people to and from hospital appointments and health clinics, while a shuttle service at peak times to help residents connect to railway stations is also being considered. 

Groups interested in joining Tidenham’s Community Transport Scheme should register to make online bookings.

The new vehicle will be based at Sedbury and Beachley Village Hall, and could save up to 7,000 car journeys per year. 

Interested community groups should email [email protected]