Roads Minister: Rapid progress needed on EVs

Roads Minister Baroness Vere says the sector must make rapid progress in the transition to electric vehicles (EVs).

Speaking at the Local Council Roads Innovation Group’s (LCRIG) annual conference earlier this week, she said: “One area where we need to make rapid progress is in the transition to electric vehicles. The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is already working extensively with local authorities to support them in delivering charging infrastructure.  

“And the upcoming EV Chargepoint Infrastructure Strategy will set out the roles and responsibilities – from local authorities to energy companies – to deliver this transition. 

“Government is also producing a decarbonisation toolkit, to be launched later this year, which will provide further guidance to local authorities on how to facilitate the transition to zero emission vehicles. So please look out for that.” 

Baroness Vere of Norbiton was appointed as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport in April 2019.

As part of her remit she has responsibility for Roads (including National Highways); Motoring agencies (DVSA, DVLA, VCA); Buses and taxis; Light rail (including tram, underground and metro systems); Devolution (including union connectivity and London transport).

During her keynote speech, the minister said that local authorities have a crucial role to play in many areas of the decarbonisation agenda. 

“Local Transport Plans will now need to set out how quantifiable carbon reductions will be achieved in local areas, with future transport funding dependent on these plans being robust, ambitious and achievable,” she told delegates.  

Looking ahead to COP26, Baroness Vere said the United Nations event offered an opportunity for the UK’s leadership to tackle climate change and “help inspire and challenge all nations to do the same”. 

“Not just to mitigate the threats of climate change, but also to seize the opportunities of the green economy. 

“That’s why we were the first advanced economy to make a 2050 net zero pledge, and why our sixth climate budget commits to a nearly 80% reduction by 2035. 

“In July, we set out our plans to do just that through our Transport Decarbonisation Plan – our ‘green-print’ for net zero.

“It sets out not only how we intend to reduce emissions, but how we can improve our lives through travel.” 

LCRIG’s mission is to facilitate fresh thinking in innovation and collaboration and to act as a conduit across the ‘highways community’.

The group’s annual conference Strictly Highways took place from 6-7 October. The event brings together the whole highways community, including the councils, the Department for Transport (DfT), academia and the industry associations. It enables everyone to learn about new innovation and technology, share experiences, receive updates from the DfT and showcases the industry associations.

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