Electric Vehicles and Bicycles

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:27 pm on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Alan Brown Alan Brown Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Infrastructure and Energy) 5:27 pm, 9th May 2018

I would fully support that. I do not think I will be able to respond to all the points that hon. Members have made. It is fair to say that I agreed with most points. The enthusiasm for electric vehicles and electric bikes shone through.

Kirstene Hair mentioned the Scottish Government’s money running out quickly. I point out that Scottish Tories actually criticised the Scottish Government’s bringing in a loan system that allowed people to apply for loans to buy electric vehicles. It has been a success, to the extent that it has been oversubscribed, so the Scottish Government are looking at providing additional funding for that. Her comments should be a compliment, not a criticism. I urge the UK Government to extend their grant scheme, because that has a short horizon as well. We really need to look at extending that further.

I commend the Kilmarnock Station Railway Heritage Trust in my constituency, which has completely renovated and occupied a number of rooms and basement areas of Kilmarnock railway station. It provides a huge number of third sector support services. Like the Stirling Cycle Hub, which Stephen Kerr complimented, it operates a cycle hub and undertakes led runs to encourage other people to take up cycling. It also takes referrals from people recovering from addictions, making cycling part of their recovery process and giving them motivation and fitness and getting them out and about. It is a fantastic scheme. It also has a volunteering and mentoring operation.

The trust also operates a cycle hub at Whitelee wind farm, which is the second biggest onshore renewable energy site in Europe. It encourages people to get out there and cycle in the great outdoors, which is a fantastic co-location idea, harmonising renewables with getting people out and about. I pay tribute to my constituent, Alan Vass, who led the expansion of the cycle hub. It is getting bigger and better, and I wish him well for the future.

Much has been said about making the UK a world leader. The truth is that the UK has a long way to go and needs to look elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with ambition, but we need to put strategies in place to match that ambition.