Olympic Games: Doping: Electric and Hybrid Electric Cars (6 Jul 2016)

Douglas Chapman Scottish National Party, Dunfermline and West Fife

The all-party group on energy heard last week from Statoil, the Norwegian state oil company. It said that, although setting tough targets on emissions is important, we really need to take action to change people’s behaviour. Does my hon. Friend agree that Norway is making a huge contribution in that regard? If we could mirror what Norway is doing—for example, by taking similar fiscal steps—that would be a good model on which the UK could base its plans.

Alan Brown Scottish National Party, Kilmarnock and Loudoun

I totally agree. It is ironic that Norway has made so much money from oil but is now re-investing it and planning for the future by reducing emissions. There are clear lessons to be learned from how Norway set up an oil fund for future investment.

I return to Government policy. Further proof of inconsistency is shown by the fact that in March 2011 the coalition Government stated that by June 2011 they would publish a strategy to deliver 8,500 charging points throughout the UK. Come June 2011, the emphasis was on how charging would mainly take place at people’s homes. That was seen as a retreat from the original commitment. I agree with the logic—most people would prefer to charge their cars overnight at a charge point in their home—but in cities in particular that option is not available to many people. It is now July 2016, and there are still only 4,094 connection points, so it is clear that the planned accessibility is not there and that, as we have heard from other Members, that is a barrier to the increased use of electric cars.

In 2014, it was pledged that there would be a rapid charge point at every motorway station and a network of 500 rapid chargers throughout the country by the end of 2014. In 2016, there are still only 689 rapid chargers, so it is fair to say that that target was missed. Can the Minister update us on the status of the plan for a rapid charger at every motorway station?

General availability is patchy as well. Some 33% of connectors are in London and the south-east. I am pleased to say that Scotland is punching above its weight, with 15% of the UK’s total. That is partly thanks to the Scottish Government’s investment of £11 million in 900 publicly available charging bays. There seems to be ambiguity about charge points, which are the locations, and the number of connectors. That ambiguity seems to suit the Government when they answer questions, because the number of chargers gets conflated with the number of charge point locations.