Government urged to boost low-emission vehicle market

The Government and the motor industry must work together to develop the UK's comparative advantage in the low-emission car market, according to a think tank.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), identified three targets to make sure the country's ultra low-emission vehicle (ULEV) market thrives.

The group said it was important for domestic firms in the supply chain to have access to finance and also called for greater public investment for the application and commercialisation of innovation.

Finally, the IPPR said there should be new strategies in higher education, apprenticeships and immigration to ensure that the UK has a workforce at the cutting edge of latest innovations.

The report, called 'Leading the charge: Can Britain develop a global advantage in ultra-low emission vehicles?' says action is required in several areas to achieve the goals. These include:

· The Government should give more purchase incentives to buyers and do more to promote them to customers.

· Incentives such as free parking should be increased, together with new schemes such as the free use of toll roads.

· The Government should drive demand for ULEVs by introducing tighter emission standards to Government buying standards for transport.

· More should be done to give ULEV buyers safe access to charging points, both at home and in public.

· There should be more rapid charge stations placed in convenient locations.

· The environmental impact of the electricity system should be addressed to make sure ULEVs are as eco-friendly as possible.

· The electricity network should be upgraded to cope with additional demand.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) welcomed the IPPR report, saying the Government had ignored the industry in the past.

The IPPR consulted many groups during the writing of the report and the BVRLA said it was interested in its comments on the removal of 100% First-Year Allowances for lease cars.

BVRLA chief executive John Lewis said: "We are delighted that this independent report has recognised the vital importance of the vehicle rental and leasing industry in driving the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, something that the Government has chosen to ignore.

"We will continue to lobby for them to reinstate 100% First Year Allowances for our sector. Sales of new ultra-low carbon vehicles will not progress as everyone wants them to unless this happens."

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