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Written Statement - Welsh Government support for Low Carbon Vehicles

Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport

I am advising Assembly Members that I am setting up a Low Carbon Vehicle expert steering group to provide me with advice and recommendations on the development of the Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) sector in Wales to maximise the sector’s opportunities for growth and jobs.

The UK is at the forefront of low carbon vehicle development, many world class technologies have been demonstrated here, British products and services are experiencing international demand and significant investment has been committed by major manufacturers to produce and sell LCVs in the UK. 

The existing automotive base in Wales is significant, over 150 automotive companies are based in Wales employing around 15,000 people and bringing an estimated £3 billion to the Welsh economy annually. 

This places Wales in a good position to develop Wales as a centre of excellence for Low Carbon Vehicles, stimulate new growth opportunities and capitalise on the economic benefits. 

The group will be formed over the summer and will draw representatives from the automotive industry, manufacturers, supply chain businesses, utility companies, local authorities, academia, and government.   

The role of the industry led expert steering group will be to:

  • Identify evidence for Low Carbon Vehicle support in Wales drawing on evidence, best practice and evaluations available;
  • Identify barriers and opportunities to uptake;
  • Identify cost effective options for Government delivery and support for the sector;
  • Promote the uptake of Low Carbon Vehicles to the public estate and business sectors.
The aims and objectives are:
  • To understand the needs and requirements of the sector;
  • To understand how we can help create the conditions for the sector to thrive;
  • To define where active public intervention is required for providing the sector with the support necessary to assist growth and sustainability;
  • To review the support for sector and consider cost effective options for future Government supported delivery;
  • To define how the Welsh Government and stakeholders can develop the sector in Wales;

As part of its consideration the Group will invite and gather evidence from key individuals and organisations.

In the meantime I have asked my officials to look at opportunities for including vehicle charging points as part of the overall design of new roads and possibly introducing them as part of relevant major maintenance schemes by the Welsh Government.
As a growth market, support for a significant uptake of LCVs in Wales will provide opportunities for growth and jobs supporting new elements in the value chain, including vehicles, vehicle components, infrastructure, utilities, retailing, service and parts. The benefits of a diversification into new energy sources for the transport sector are not only economic but also contribute to  increased energy security, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and in air pollution, and social and community benefits through the provision of charging points that facilitates growth of low carbon transport car sharing clubs.

I will update members on the progress of the steering group before the end of the year.