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Low-emission Vehicles

Volume 519: debated on Thursday 2 December 2010

Decarbonisation of motor transport is one of my key priorities. The recent spending review announced that the Government have made provision of over £400 million for measures to promote the uptake of ultra-low carbon vehicle technologies. These measures include support for consumer incentives, development of recharging infrastructure, and a programme of research and development work.

When does my right hon. Friend expect that it will be an economically rational decision for most people to buy a low-emission vehicle?

I am pleased to tell my hon. Friend that with the benefit of the Government’s consumer incentive of up to £5,000 a vehicle, it will be an eminently rational decision for anyone to start purchasing an electric vehicle from next February, when they appear on the UK’s roads. The cost per kilometre of running an electric vehicle that is charged overnight with cheap-rate electricity will be between 1p and 3p, which compares favourably with the price of petrol.

I thank the Secretary of State for his response. Is he aware of the application that the Department of the Environment and the Department for Regional Development in Northern Ireland have submitted to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles regarding the plugged-in places vehicle initiative, which would promote an infrastructure in Northern Ireland for electric vehicle charging? What is the status of the application, and may I request that he gives it his support?

We are evaluating the bids that we have received for the second round of the plugged-in places programme and an announcement will be made in the new year.