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Transport Decarbonisation

Volume 742: debated on Thursday 14 December 2023

Our transport decarbonisation plan is probably the most advanced of any country in the world, and we continue to implement it. Just yesterday, King Charles approved the zero-emission vehicle mandate, which requires 80% of new vehicles to have zero emissions by 2030. Petrol and diesel cars, vans and trucks weighing up to 26 tonnes will be banned by 2035. We have introduced the sustainable aviation fuel mandate, under which 10% of aviation fuel should be sustainable by 2030. Similarly, we are pushing ahead in all the different sectors.

I welcome the Minister to his place. This financial year, active travel spending is £1.91 per head in England and £30.10 per head in Scotland—a 1,400% difference between Scottish and UK Government priorities. Decarbonisation needs transformational investment in active travel, which particularly supports accessibility, and it simply is not happening for folk in England. Will he undertake to begin the long process of finally getting England on the road to matching Scotland’s ambition?

I thank the hon. Member for that question. We are actually spending more money on active travel than any other Government in history. As she says, active travel is an important part of decarbonisation and the route to net zero. Her figures do not take into account the regional spending within England, which should be added to the total. I would be happy to write to her with the actual figures for spending in the UK.

The Secretary of State told the Transport Committee that electric cars are cheaper to run than their petrol and diesel counterparts. He also knows that sales of new electric cars fell by 17% last month.

The Minister has just mentioned the ZEV mandate, and I remind him that it was passed only because Labour MPs voted for it. He also knows that it addresses manufacturers, not consumers—supply, not demand. How do the Government plan to reassure drivers that buying electric means cheaper motoring? How will he undo the damage that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says was done to consumer confidence by his Prime Minister’s comments on the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars?

My key focus in my decarbonisation of transport role is to ensure a smooth and successful roll-out of electric vehicles. The hon. Member quoted one month’s figures, but overall sales of electric vehicles are up 41% this year compared with last year. Indeed, a greater share of electric vehicles is being sold in the UK than in any of the five major countries in the EU—more than in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland. It really is a record to be proud of. He is right that this is about supply and demand. We have stipulated in the ZEV mandate that 80% of sales should be zero/electric by 2030, but we also need to ensure that there are enough charge points for them. We have spent nearly £2 billion supporting electric vehicles, and we have a whole range of different schemes to deliver that.