Report calls for ‘stronger commitment to sustainable transport’

12.00 | 1 September 2016 |

The Environmental Audit Committee has called on the Department for Transport (DfT) to implement a clear strategy to increase the use of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).

The call comes today (1 Sept) as the committee publishes its report into sustainability at the DfT.

While the report praises the DfT’s ‘positive approach to sustainability’, it says the organisation needs to ‘spell out more clearly and in more detail its commitments, timetable and progress on sustainable transport’.

Figures published in July show that new registrations of ULEVs in the UK are growing rapidly, with stats from the first quarter of 2016 showing a rise of more than 500% over a two year period.

However, the Government’s projections show they will miss the target for ultra-low emission vehicles to make up 9% of all new car and van sales by 2020, which has implications for air quality and climate change targets.

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: "We need 9% of all new cars to be ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020 if we’re going to meet our climate change targets at the lowest cost to the public.

“But the Department’s forecasts show it will get only around half way to this target. This failure risks making it more expensive to meet our long term carbon reduction targets.

“The Department should also aim for almost two thirds of new cars and vans to be ultra-low emission vehicles by 2030. With no strategy, we have no confidence that the DfT will meet this target."

The report also sets out a number of recommendations from local authorities and the car industry to help the DfT increase electric vehicle use over the next decade and beyond.

Ms Creagh said: "Local authorities had a range of innovative ideas to drive take-up, such as supporting electric and low emission fleet procurement by underwriting risk or guaranteeing buy-back, helping workplaces invest in charging points, and introducing a national grant scheme for electric and low emission taxis.

“Ministers should also think about changes to vehicle taxation, including company cars, to make electric vehicles more attractive.

“The Government needs to give manufacturers a reason to choose their UK car factories to manufacture the next generation of low emission vehicles.”


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