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Zero Emission Vehicles

Volume 707: debated on Wednesday 19 January 2022

At COP26, the UK launched a joint statement with more than 100 signatories, committing to work towards all new car sales being zero emission by 2040 globally, and by 2035 in leading markets. Thirty-two per cent. of the global car market is now covered by manufacturer commitments to phase out polluter vehicles.

Cornwall is keen to take the lead in the emergency green economy, in particular looking at local lithium to store electricity. Can my right hon. Friend update the House on what action the Government are taking to utilise this important asset and what benefits she sees for the people of Cornwall.

My hon. Friend the Minister for industry visited innovative UK companies Cornish Lithium and British Lithium just last week to see their exciting progress towards producing lithium in the UK. These are great examples of UK enterprise benefiting from Government funding to support jobs and growth in Cornwall and providing a critical mineral to support our green industrial revolution. We are looking forward to working further with industry as we develop our critical mineral strategy later this year.

The UK COP presidency has established the Zero Emission Vehicles Transition Council. That will bring together the Governments of the world’s largest car markets to work towards accelerating this transition. Can my right hon. Friend tell the House what role the council will play in the UK’s presidency year, ahead of COP27?

The UK will continue to work through the Zero Emission Vehicles Transition Council for an accelerated and equitable global transition to zero emission vehicles as well as delivery of its 2022 action plan, which includes collaboration on regulations, heavy goods vehicles, infrastructure and support to developing countries. The ZEVTC will be one of the leading initiatives for international collaboration under the Glasgow breakthrough on road transport.

The most pressing issue for a successful roll-out of electric vehicles is grid capacity. The National Grid is a private company. Who will pay for this huge investment in the National Grid?

The ongoing work that the net zero strategy has set forward, which my right hon. Friend the Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change continues to work on, will help build the new grids that we need, as we know that we are going to be requiring up to four times as much electricity. Also, our use of electricity will be through a much more distributed grid system. That will be ongoing work in the months and years ahead.

What does the Minister think is more likely to encourage greater use of electric vehicles: the Scottish Government’s grant scheme, with up to £28,000 for the purchase of a new vehicle, or her Government’s decision to cut the equivalent grant in England to just £2,500?

The Government are leading the way in supporting the transition that our vehicle manufacturers are making towards zero emission vehicles and through the work that the COP President set out, ensuring that all countries across the world will be part of the zero emissions revolution.