The UK’s first Zero Emission Vehicle Summit took place in Birmingham today with the industry rallying behind Theresa May. The Prime Minister announced 106 million pounds in funding for low carbon technologies, matched by half a billion from businesses. Moreover, the Brexiteers are calling for cooperation.
The Zero Emission Vehicle Summit follows the government’s Road to Zero strategy, a call to decarbonise the country. In Birmingham, both politicians and industry leaders convened to specify measures designed “to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles,” according to Prime Minister May.
At the summit, May announced said £106 million funding boost for research and development in green vehicles, new batteries and low carbon technology.
Industry partners such as Aston Martins, Cummins, Lloyds or Leclanché in turn said they earmarked over £500 million worth of investment, aiming to create about a 1,000 jobs across the UK.
Lastly, the summit was vying for foreign investment, expressed in the ‘Birmingham Declaration’. It aims for the worldwide deployment of zero emission vehicles and charging infrastructure. The first signatories include Italy, France, Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Belarus and Indonesia. This declaration will form the “basis of increasing international engagement at climate conferences throughout the year,” states the press release.
The Prime Minister also hosted an automotive roundtable with supply-chain companies from Germany, the USA, Japan, China, Spain and India.
In light of existing agreements, the Prime Minister confirmed the UK’s target to ban all sales of combustion engine vehicles by 2040 but again averted calls that had asked to move said target forward to 2030.
In addition, the days leading up to the summit had seen other initiatives feeding into the desired transformation. The government is currently running a consultation for example, that is likely to lead to the introduction of green number plates for electric vehicles.
Westminster also announced two million pounds in funding to support the uptake of electric cargo bikes. They hope the zero emission wheelers will replace vans, particularly when making last-mile deliveries (we reported).
These efforts to decarbonise deliveries match a recent initiative by logistic companies. Six of Great Britain’s largest fleet operators have signed the “Clean Van Commitment”, thus promising to replace 18,000 diesel vans with electric ones by 2028.
Change to a low emission future is coming to the UK, albeit slowly.