Electric Vehicles and Bicycles

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:06 pm on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Kirstene Hair Kirstene Hair Conservative, Angus 5:06 pm, 9th May 2018

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr McCabe. I thank my hon. Friend Andrew Selous for bringing this worthy issue to the Chamber. I declare an interest as chair of the all-party group on fair fuel for UK motorists and UK hauliers.

People who live in constituencies such as mine, who are fortunate enough to enjoy a beautiful rural setting, know only too well that it is through careful protection of the environment that we will ensure that future generations experience similar sights. Unfortunately, pollution and climate change have come to pose serious threats to everyday life. From the poor air quality in our cities to the growing concern about plastics and the coastal erosion that affects constituencies such as mine, it is apparent that more needs to be done.

I welcome the positive steps that the UK Government have taken, but it is imperative that every member of the British public acknowledges their responsibility to reduce their impact on the natural world. To that end, the mode of transport that a person chooses could not be more important. Although the production and assembly of electric cars still generate harmful emissions, the lower pollution they produce during their lives, especially compared with their petrol counterparts, means that they should be supported—alongside important interim measures such as alternative fuels, as other Members have suggested.

In 2017, there were approximately 800 electric cars across Scotland—just 0.1% of all cars registered in the country. Invariably, electric cars are likely to be confined to major cities. In Angus, which lacks the necessary facilities and impetus to engage with electric cars, we have been unable to realise the possibilities offered by such vehicles. I strongly believe that that needs to change. As was mentioned, the Scottish Government have sought to bring the target further forward than the UK Government, but I believe—excuse the pun—that they are miles behind in delivering on that target. We need clear objectives to ensure that the public get behind these important measures and know where the Government are going with them.