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Green Investment and Public Transport

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 14 April 2021

What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on showing leadership on green investment and boosting funding for public transport in the run-up to COP26. (914044)

I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues about decarbonisation. My right hon. Friend the Transport Secretary is putting a green recovery for transport at the centre of his Department’s decision making in the run-up to COP26 and beyond.

Liverpool city region is developing a project to bring 20 hydrogen-powered double-decker buses to the streets, with the potential for further green investment to scale this up and achieve our ambition of being carbon net zero by 2040. Can the Minister tell us when the £30 billion in planned capital investment as part of the green recovery stimulus will be available to support our ambition?

I will ensure that the hon. Lady’s specific point is taken up with my right hon. Friend the Transport Secretary. She will know that, last month, the Transport Secretary launched a multimillion-pound scheme to enable local authorities to roll out zero-emission buses. This funding will deliver 500 zero-emission buses, supporting the Government’s wider commitment to introduce 4,000 such vehicles.

There is no joined-up thinking on any issue with this Government, but we would all have hoped for some cross-Department thinking on this issue at least. We are, as usual, disappointed, with even the green homes grant gone after just a few months—so much for building back better.

There is increasing concern voiced internationally, too, about the UK Government’s lack of progress domestically on environmental commitments. Will the right hon. Gentleman show some real leadership and commit today to start seriously lobbying his Government colleagues to join up the dots and start delivering, so that we can look forward to environmentally sound investment, renewed support for a comprehensive charging framework for electric vehicles, real investment in hydrogen technology and marine energy, support for housing improvements and so on? Will he do that, or is he happy to leave us all embarrassed to be hosting COP26 while the UK seems to be striding off in the opposite direction?

I say to the hon. Lady that the role of the COP presidency is to ensure that we are working with all 197 parties to ensure that we are making progress on keeping the 1.5° C limit within reach. The UK, like any other country, needs to see what more we can do. I hope that she will acknowledge that we are seen as a leader in the world and that, since 2010, we have decarbonised our economy faster than any other G20 nation.