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Low-carbon Vehicles

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 23 June 2011

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, the development of recharging infrastructure and a programme of research, development and demonstration work. Low-emission vehicles also benefit from tax advantages.

A convenient network of publicly available charging points is essential if we are to encourage the uptake of electric cars, so I welcome the £1.45 million of Government funding for Transport Scotland to build 375 charging points across the central belt of Scotland, but I was concerned at BBC media reports last month suggesting that the UK in general is behind schedule in getting these charging points in place. Will the Secretary of State give us an update on progress on charging points?

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her question and I agree that we need to understand the way in which the public expect to use public charging points, in order to understand how we can best roll out the electric vehicle programme. Early evidence from other countries has produced some results that might not have been intuitive before the demonstration projects. It is true that the total number of charging posts that are rolled out will be less than was originally envisaged, because in a number of cases promoters of the plugged-in places schemes have determined that multi-headed charging posts are the best way forward. That accounts for some of the discrepancy in numbers to which I think the hon. Lady is referring.

Will the Minister consider maintaining the duty differential for sustainable biofuels? This has played an important role in creating green jobs, which are now threatened by the removal of the differential in April 2012.

As my hon. Friend knows, the differential plays an important role in bringing forward sustainable biofuels. In particular, the re-use of used oils is an important source of sustainable fuels. However, all matters relating to duty are for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor to consider and, when the current arrangements expire in 2012, he will consider whether to renew them and on what basis.