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Every car on roads to be low carbon by 2050, says Transport Minister

Held on 15th July in Westminster, the event saw the gathering of businesses, manufacturers, charities and Governmental officials to discuss the progress of carbon emissions reduction in the automotive sector.

Speaking on behalf of OLEV, Baroness Kramer, Transport Minister, gave the conference’s keynote address.

She explained how ‘low carbon partnerships had shaped the transport agenda’ of the last ten years, and professed the Government’s commitment to low carbon policy: ‘We are determined that Britain will be the world’s largest hub for alternatively fuelled and low carbon vehicles.’

Baroness Kramer gave a breakdown of how the Government’s £1bn investment to 2020 to develop Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle would go towards achieving this aim, including £21m to grow the UK’s fast charging network, £37m to support the installation of charging points and offices and homes and £30m to support the development of low-carbon buses.

‘By 2050, we expect every car on UK roads to be low carbon,’ she concluded.

A study into the link between policies that favour low carbon vehicles and the rising levels of UK automotive investment was also launched at the conference, details of which can be found on the LowCVP website: http://www.lowcvp.org.uk/

Peter Wells, Professor at the Centre for Auto Industry Research at Cardiff Business School and a co-author of the report, give an overview of the ups and downs that the UK car industry had experienced over the last 10 years, including its globalisation, the impact of recession and the industry’s progress towards reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% (from the 1990 baseline) by 2050.

He praised the automotive industry’s commitment to making vehicles more efficient, citing the average fuel efficiency improvement of 33% for cars in 2013 over 2003 models as an example of its progress.

Adam Chase, director of E4Tech and another co-author of the report, outlined the low CO2 policy advancements that have been achieved in the first ten years of low carbon legislation, including the Climate Change act of 2008, the establishment of the Automotive Council in 2009 (created to facilitate dialogue between the automotive industry and Government) and the establishment of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

OLEV is a team working across Government to support the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV).

Other sessions focused on how to influence environmental and industrial outcomes; how the national agenda can deliver at local level; the politics and prospects for low carbon fuels and a final discussion around innovative approaches to encourage the adoption of electric and plug-in vehicles.

Presentations, including Baroness Kramer’s full speech, from the event are available for download from here.

Katie Beck

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