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Reaction: £500million low-emission vehicle plans

By Kelly Mason
Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 12:45

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PLANS: OLEV receive £500million of funding

The government have revealed how the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) will spend their £500million of funding allocation over the next five years.

Continuation of the Plug-in Car Grant will be facilitated with £200million of funding, securing the future of the government’s contribution of up to £5,000 towards the cost of qualifying, new ultra-low emission vehicles.

This will be provided until at least 50,000 vehicles have been sold or until 2017, whichever comes first, while a plug-in van grant will continue with review over whether its scope should be widened.

Meanwhile, £100million will be dedicated to R&D projects, £30million to assist the purchase of other vehicles, £20million for taxi infrastructure and incentives, and £35million of a new city scheme.

Pleasingly for fleets, £30million has been set aside for buses, £32million on infrastructure including a rapid charging network, and £4million for a HCV gas refuelling network.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, said: “The move towards a low carbon vehicle future must be built around the three pillars of consumer incentives, strategically focused infrastructure and increased leverage for R&D support.

“We therefore welcome this announcement which reflects that balanced approach but, significantly, seek to incentivise technical developments in all segments of road transport, not just passenger cars.
 
“UK vehicle manufacturers are already committing significant investment to the UK’s ULEV ambitions through research, development and production of zero and low emission vehicles and technologies.

“This funding package will help secure additional private sector investment, but more needs to be done to support academic research in this area – as well as developing the skills that will be essential if the UK is to become a global leader in ultra-low emission technologies.”

Freight Transport Association (FTA)

Christopher Snelling, Head of Urban Logistics, said: “This is a welcome development.

“It is good to see that the freight sector has been recognised within the funding package allocation and that there is acknowledgment by government that heavy goods vehicles have as many challenges as cars in reducing emissions.

“We anticipate that the funding package will contribute to increasing the uptake of gas and biomethane HGVs as the current lack of public refuelling infrastructure is one of the major factors preventing the market from taking off.

“The HGV funding is a relatively small part of the package, but we hope more can be allocated in future to this important area.
 
“Ultra-low emission vans are not yet widely commercially viable, so the continued support in this area is vital to help develop this market.”
 
British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA)

Gerry Keaney, Chief Executive, said: “Some of the key messages that came out of our meetings and workshops with OLEV were around the need to provide a more varied range of in-life incentives that would help support the up-front car grant and tax advantages.

“We are really pleased that the government has listened to our recommendations and is now encouraging local authorities to explore bus lane and parking incentives.

“However, we are concerned that offering these incentives in isolated locations could leave ULEV drivers confused over which bus lanes they can use or where they can park for free and would suggest that, if successful, these measures are rapidly introduced nationwide.

“The announcement on workplace charging infrastructure is also very welcome as we believe that supporting this will encourage businesses to add ULEV’s to their company car choice lists for employees.”

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