Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond supplied the slogan for the Low Carbon Vehicle Conference when he said, “It’s not the car that’s the problem, it’s the carbon.” He noted that low or zero-carbon private cars are a necessity, not an option.
Speaking about the future of low-carbon vehicles in the U.K., Hammond said that he and the government understand that the encouragement given to rail transport, cycling and walking as means of getting around is good but not nearly enough. Private vehicles are a fact of life today, and people are not going to give them up.
Therefore, he said, the government has made the decision to commit £43 million to grants for electric cars, hybrids and fuel cells between now and March 2012. This decision is in advance of the comprehensive spending review scheduled for next month. It is not certain how much, if any, cash incentive will be offered in future, but Hammond is confident that the British public will see the economic sense in green technology if the cost of batteries can be made acceptable.