Electric and Hybrid Electric Cars

Part of Olympic Games: Doping – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 6th July 2016.

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Photo of Neil Parish Neil Parish Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Sub-Committee 4:30 pm, 6th July 2016

If we can dramatically reduce pollution levels by using electric cars, particularly in our city centres, we should be able to allow—dare I say it?—a little pollution from older vehicles. It is a matter of balance, and I agree with my right hon. Friend. I prefer a carrot for people to move over to electric cars, rather than a stick for those who do not.

The April 2016 report on air quality by the Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs stated that each year, there are between 40,000 and 50,000 early deaths due to air quality problems. Polluting vehicles are part of the problem, especially in our inner cities. The UK has a legal obligation under EU directives to address air quality. Of course, we can probably now have our own directives, but most people in this country would agree that it is good to set a target to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels to 40 mg per cubic metre or less and to ensure that, particularly in our inner cities, not only our cars but our vans and lorries—the vehicles that are actually polluting—are electric or hybrid.