21 June 2017
The Queen's Speech this morning gave a positive signal from the government on electric vehicles, promising a new charging infrastructure on motorways and at petrol stations. Environmental lawyers say the move could be transformational for air pollution and the energy market.
ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said: "The exponential increase in the use and development of electric vehicles gives an answer in part to both the air pollution and energy challenges. Greater penetration of less polluting vehicles means our cities could be en route to much cleaner air.
"Meanwhile, investors and consumers have been waiting for a clear policy signal guaranteeing new infrastructure for electric transport and this may be it. More electric vehicles on the roads opens the door for innovative use of the grid and it will also give confidence to the emerging storage market.
"The devil will be in the detail - but this is a positive step. These could be exciting times if ministers see this through."
The announcement is timely. With the hot weather this week, the UK has seen high levels of the toxic gas, ozone, trigger pollution alerts from the UK Government. Polluting chemicals, including those from vehicles, react with sunlight to create ozone, which is known to irritate and inflame the lungs and make respiratory conditions worse for sufferers.
New Environment Secretary Michael Gove claimed this week that combating air pollution is a top priority in his new position.
Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan today released new plans to cut 3 million car journeys each day from the capital and make the whole transport network zero emissions by 2050 in a bid to drastically cut pollution.