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Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:26 pm on 7th September 2016.

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Photo of Mary Creagh Mary Creagh Chair, Environmental Audit Committee 5:26 pm, 7th September 2016

Yes; it is done in the single departmental plans and the annual reports, and the Committee on Climate Change looks at these targets every year and says whether we are going to meet our various carbon budgets. There is a range of reporting mechanisms, and I see it as the job of the Committee to point out where we think things are going wrong.

We could see a whole range of policies that would help drive low-emission vehicle uptake, and local authorities had a range of innovative ideas, particularly in the area of fleet procurement. The Government are probably the largest buyer of vehicles in the country, and if the NHS were to move to all electric vehicles, they would get them at much less than £30,000 per car. They could then guarantee buy-back and there would then be a second-hand market that gets people used to buying these vehicles. We could see workplaces investing in charging points—one of the perceived problems with electric vehicles is their range—and the introduction of a national grant scheme, or scrappage scheme, for electric and low-emission taxis.

We also want the Treasury to think about changes to the taxation of vehicles, including company cars, to make electric vehicles more attractive. This is really important for the UK’s industrial strategy. I was born and brought up in Coventry, and I watched the car manufacturing industry virtually disappear around me in the 1980s. The remaining manufacturers, including Nissan, Honda, LTI—which I am delighted to say makes electric taxis in Coventry—and Toyota, need a reason to choose their UK car factories based in Sunderland, Swindon, Coventry and Derby to manufacture the next generation of low-emission vehicles. We have heard from the Japanese ambassador about some of the anxieties following the vote to leave the European Union, but we are obviously keen to see Nissan manufacture the next generation of its electric car, the Leaf, in Sunderland from 2018. That decision is under consideration at the moment. Investors want stability, certainty and policies that will signal the Government’s intention to incentivise the uptake of these vehicles. All those factors are vital.