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Electric Vehicles

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment she has made of the potential effect on the Government's road congestion targets of the use of electric personal assistive mobility devices; (188875)

(2) what assessment she has made of the changes to legislation necessary to permit the use of electric personal assistive mobility devices on (a) the public highway and (b) public footpaths;

(3) what discussions she has had with her counterparts in EU member states on the potential effect on (a) carbon emissions and (b) road congestion of the use of electric personal assistive mobility devices.

If, as we understand, such devices are likely to be used mainly as an alternative to walking or cycling then their potential in terms of congestion relief and of carbon emission reduction is likely to be minimal. No detailed assessment of legislative requirements has been made but primary legislation would need to be amended to permit their use on public footpaths or on the pedestrian footway alongside the public highway. There is provision in section 44 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 that would allow the Secretary of State to permit by way of an order their use on the vehicular part of the public highway. The Secretary of State has no plans to make such an order. The Secretary of State has had no discussions with her EU counterparts on this subject.