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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

My hon. Friend makes an interesting point. People who drive an electric car, especially a pure electric car, are not starting and stopping their engine in queues of traffic, where the highest levels of pollution are often found. It will take a little while to get to the number of electric cars that we want, but it will make a dramatic difference in areas such as Bradford on Avon, which she represents so well.

Now that we have left the EU, it is vital that the Government double down on air quality issues. [Interruption.] Well, we are about to leave—it is rumoured that there was a referendum. The new targets that we set must be as rigorous as those set by the EU. During the referendum campaign, nobody on either side argued against that—before Barry Gardiner glares at me, I was actually on the remain side. We must set tough targets on both the location and levels of pollution, because we all want a clean environment. The Mayor of London has outlined even tougher measures to address the problems, including a £10 pollution charge and a faster roll-out of clean buses, so everyone is working towards that aim.

I will now talk about the Norwegian model—not for entry to the single market, but for electric cars. Some 25% of all new cars in Norway are plug-in electric vehicles, which compares with 1.3% in the UK. Although we have had interesting increases in the number of electric cars, which I mentioned earlier, those increases were from a low base. The increase in Norway was due to a long-term infrastructure drive launched in 2009-10 and incentives for electric cars, which include the abolition of import tax; reduced annual registration tax, or road tax; no purchase taxes; road toll exemptions; 0% VAT; access to bus lanes; free access to road ferries; and guaranteed financial incentives until 2018. Norway has been very ambitious, and I expect the Minister to be equally ambitious.