Bike silent wingsEnvironmentally-friendly transport is really going places according to an event that showed off the best of gliders and electric vehicles.

The Silent Wings Silent Wheels event, held at Lasham Airfield on Sunday 6 September, presented modern and vintage gliders and gave visitors the chance to test drive an electric car.

More than 400 people attended the event, introduced by Damian Hinds MP and arranged by Alton Energy and the Gliding Heritage Centre (GHC), with East Hampshire District Council’s Energy Team.

Adam Carew, EHDC’s Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, said: “I am thrilled that this event was such a great success, and I am very grateful to our MP Damian Hinds for showing such interest in electric vehicles.

“Electric Vehicles are the future, already car sales of hybrid cars and electric vehicles are on the increase and as battery technology improves and prices fall so that demand will grow.  EHDC is determined to support burgeoning green technologies and are already exploring possibilities of providing a network of charging points for these vehicles.”

The gliders on show were the UK’s most extensive collection of flying machines dating from the 1930s, and guided tours were provided by members of the GHC.

Flights in modern gliders were popular with visitors and seven or eight gliders could be seen in the sky riding the thermals above the airfield.

An excellent range of electric vehicles was also on display, including a Tesla S, designed in California, and vehicles from Renault, Vauxhall and Volkswagon. Among the vehicles was a Nissan Van on loan to East Hampshire District Council, which is considering using it for its operations.  Many visitors took advantage of being driven, or even driving the cars, around the roads outside Lasham airfield.

Visitors could also enjoy a test ride on one of a dozen electric bikes at the event with some e-bikes being snapped up by converts on the day.

In his introduction Damian Hinds MP commended the organisers for an excellent event, and said he can see the popularity of electric cars growing. He highlighted government financial incentives to promote the switch to electric vehicles, with a grant of up to £5,000 off the cost of a new car, and help towards the cost of installing a charge-point at home.

Damian Hinds MP said: “The Silent Wheels Silent Wings event was a great partnership event, showing what is possible in the most environmentally-friendly modes of travel.  There are some amazing aircraft in the Lasham Heritage Collection.  Energy Alton, as ever, are at the forefront of showcasing the practical ways of reducing carbon emissions.  I enjoyed the day a lot, but I learned a lot too.”

East Hampshire District Council plans to invest in a number of charge-points across the district, and welcomes approaches from organisations with similar aspirations. For more information contact Jane Devlin Energy Strategy Manager by email at jane.devlin@easthants.gov.uk.