Electric scooters could be legalised on public roads as part of a ‘transport revolution’ under a government proposal, and will be tested in four areas in the UK during a £90m trial.

The Department for Transport has proposed to legalise e-scooters on public roads in a consultation issued today to make journeys ‘easier, smarter and greener’. Under current laws, e-scooters can be used only on private land and riders caught on public roads or footpaths can face a £300 fixed-penalty notice and six points on their driving licence.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, said: ‘We are on the cusp of a transport revolution. Emerging technologies are ripping up the rulebook and changing the way people and goods move forever. Our ground-breaking future of transport programme marks the biggest review of transport laws in a generation and will pave the way for exciting new transport technology to be tested, cementing the UK’s position as a world-leading innovator.

‘This review will ensure we understand the potential impacts of a wide range of new transport modes such as e-scooters, helping to properly inform any decisions on legalisation. Funding these new zones across the country will also help us safely test innovative ways to get around, creating a greener future transport system for us all.’

E-scooters, as well as drones delivering medical supplies will be piloted in four areas of the UK: Portsmouth and Southampton; the West of England Combined Authority; Derby and Nottingham; and the West Midlands. The trial will cost £90m and will allow experts to work with a range of local bodies such as councils, hospitals, airports and universities.

The government will also consult on requirements for e-scooters and riders to ensure they are safe for use on roads. This includes a minimum age and vehicle standards as well as insurance requirements. The review will also consider if local authorities should have extra powers to manage the impacts of e-scooters on public space.