Electric Vehicles and Bicycles

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:45 pm on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire 4:45 pm, 9th May 2018

I have to very respectfully disagree with my hon. Friend. I bow to no one in my defence of high-quality British jobs. I absolutely accept the anxiety, but we can sustain those conventional jobs. Very soon, there will be so much pent-up demand for electric vehicles that the car workers in his constituency, and that of Mr Cunningham, will not be able to keep up with the demand for these new energy vehicles—as they are called in China—from our constituents when we reach that 2022 tipping point. It is the obvious thing for our constituents to do.

The transport sector is now the largest source of carbon dioxide in the country. Emissions in the transport sector went up in 2017. If we bring forward the 2040 date, that would address a large part of the gap to which the Committee on Climate Change has drawn our attention.

We need to make huge progress in the fleet sector, and we can do that now. There are about 25,000 central Government fleet vehicles in the UK. The Government say a quarter of those should be electric by 2022—that is a much less ambitious target than India and China have announced for their fleets. Let us go for a 100% Government electric vehicle fleet by 2022, including those run by local councils. We have a long way to go; only two of the Ministry of Justice’s 1,482 vehicles are electric. Let me praise Dundee City Council, which has 83 electric vehicles—the most of any UK local authority. It has also brought in a charging hub for the public and taxis, with four 50 kW and three 32 kW chargers. Well done, Dundee.

There is the serious issue of company car tax. There is a lunatic progression: at the moment, the rate of company car tax for zero-emission vehicles is 9%, which is due to rise to 16% before going down to 2%. Let us get it down to 2%; let us signal our intention, not make it worse for the area that we are trying to encourage.

We should be ambitious on sales targets. Let us go for 15% by 2022, 45% by 2025 and 85% by 2030 and get on with electric charging infrastructure.