More ULEV support needed, UK Government told
The UK Government urgently needs to do more to support the ultra-low emission vehicle sector if it is to meet air quality and climate change targets, according to a new report.
Issued by the Environmental Audit Committee, the report expressed concern that all departments are “weakening” their reporting of achievements and targets for sustainability, adding that the UK should continue to aim for European air quality standards, despite the Brexit vote.
It also pointed out that the Government’s own figures show it will miss its target of 9% of new car and van sales being ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020, which are essential for meeting climate change targets in a cost-effective way. The EAC said it was also concerned that the Department for Transport (DfT) has no strategy to promote ULEVs after 2020.
Going forward, the report suggests the DfT focuses health benefits, rather than economic advantages, of future investments. It is also advised to set out a clear post-2020 plan to support ULEV sales, to give a clearer remit for local governments to invest in sustainable transport, and to investigate whether it should take legal action against Volkswagen following the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal.
Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “We need 9% of all new cars to be ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020 if we’re going to meet our climate change targets at the lowest cost to the public. But the Department’s forecasts show it will get only around half way to this target. This failure risks making it more expensive to meet our long term carbon reduction targets. The Department should also aim for almost two thirds of new cars and vans to be ultra-low emission vehicles by 2030. With no strategy, we have no confidence that The DfT will meet this target.
“With the vote to leave the EU, there’s a material risk to our air quality targets. At the very least, the Government should commit to keeping existing European air quality standards. We also want the Department to work with the Treasury, Health and Local Government Departments to ensure the benefits of clean air are properly costed in transport investment decisions.”