Electric Vehicles and Bicycles

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:38 pm on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 5:38 pm, 9th May 2018

I can only yield, in these circumstances, to a person so distinguished as my immediate predecessor in this job. I congratulate him on raising the profile of electric buses in Harrogate and using them as a template for further developments in the bus industry around the country. He is right.

In the minute and a half that remains to me, let me just say this: we also believe that e-bikes can play a very important part in the decarbonisation of our transport system. As I have said, I am a great believer in e-bikes. Colleagues will be surprised to learn that we have been thinking about this issue for some time. It is important to draw a distinction between e-bikes, the price of which is falling, the diversity of which is increasing and the market for which is working quite satisfactorily in many ways—although I can understand that colleagues recently discovering them might like a subsidy from the Government —and e-cargo bikes, which have a very important potential public purpose in substituting for diesel-using small vans, especially in urban contexts. We will be looking very closely at that particular issue as part of the wider picture.

Let me quickly respond to Rachael Maskell, who I know is also a cyclist. She asked when the Road to Zero plan would be published. The answer is that it has, for very proper reasons, been held up by purdah, but we expect to publish it fairly shortly.

I now yield to my hon. Friend the Member for South West Bedfordshire.