CAERPHILLY council has committed to increasing electric vehicles usage amid plans to create an £8 million all-electric public transport network within the borough.

Stagecoach has launched a bid for UK Government funding to convert buses currently servicing Caerphilly town from diesel to electric operation.

The firm says the proposals, developed alongside Caerphilly council and Transport for Wales, could the first of its kind in the UK.

The £3.45 million requested from the Department for Transport’s Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme would pay for 21 electric buses, with charging points available for fast charge throughout the day.

The remaining £4.6 million will be covered by Stagecoach, with a spokeswoman saying the scheme would link up with a rail network “already on track” to be electrified by 2023 through the new Wales and Borders rail franchise.

Nigel Winter, managing director of Stagecoach South Wales, said: “I believe Caerphilly could be the first town in Britain with an all-electric public transport network, covering the buses and trains in the town.

“We are already making modal integration effective for customers with our bus and rail ticket sold on buses already, in addition to Plus Bus.

“An electric passenger transport network we think will engage and inspire the travelling public and raise the profile of efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly passenger transport options, increasing modal shift and reducing car journeys”.

Members of Caerphilly council’s cabinet voiced support for the scheme on Wednesday, where they approved their own draft electric vehicles strategy and action plan.

The plan aims to support the installation of electric vehicle infrastructure in an authority which currently has no publicly available electric vehicle charging points.

The meeting heard that other local authorities have more electric vehicles, and that Caerphilly were “catching up”.

But interim chief executive Christina Harrhy said that through the proposed all-electric transport network, the authority would be leaders in a different sense.

“A fully electric hub would be the first in Wales and certainly the first in the UK,” said Ms Harrhy.

“This is something we will push forward with and, with our strategic action plan, I think this sets us on a forward path.”

Electric and hybrid vehicle registrations in Wales rose by 35 per cent last year, with 82 registrations in Caerphilly county borough.

The mayor of Caerphilly, Councillor Mike Adams, has been using an electric car to attend civic appointments since May.