Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds North West, suggested six ways to tackle climate change and air quality during a Parliamentary debate on electric vehicles.
Leeds is one of many UK cities which urgently needs to tackle air quality to meet safe standards for citizens. Finding new ways to encourage people to ‘go electric’ could be key in solving the problem and in an address to MPs across the House Mr Sobel said:
“I represent a constituency with no public electric vehicle charge points… I want to use the debate to make public, ideas that I have put to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and that I now put to the Department for Transport”.
He went on to detail six recommendations for the relevant departments to consider which would help constituencies like Leeds North West improve it’s air quality. Mr Sobel suggested an increase of matched funding to help local authorities install residential charge points which would enable many more people to make full use of electric vehicles.
The installation of electric vehicle charging points should also be regulated, to ensure new homes, offices, commercial spaces and retail areas are able to support the demand for electric charging points. This would be monitored alongside ensuring three-phase power supplies are included in new building plans, making it easier and more environmentally friendly to provide charge points.
Mr Sobel also took the opportunity to address barriers to transport which will occur when Leeds implements a clean air zone next year. He suggested that a grant scheme to help with the purchase of electric vehicles be trialled in areas implementing the clean air zone.
Mr Sobel used the example of free electric vehicle parking that exists in Leeds City Centre to encourage the Government to engage more people in the benefits of electric vehicles.
Similarly, a business levy on parking spaces would encourage companies to take more responsibility in tackling air pollution. Mr Sobel suggests a levy on car parking spaces which are not electric vehicle accessible to incentivise local businesses and employees to consider the transition to electric cars and bikes.
Mr Sobel’s final suggestion focussed on planning permissions and ensuring that electric vehicle parking spaces and charging points are necessary for all new builds, he said: “We should… legislate to ensure that all UK car parks with more than 50 spaces must have a minimum of one EV space per 25 spaces”.
The Government’s proposals to tackle climate change and introduce better alternatives to petrol and diesel transport options are due to be implemented by 2040. Alex Sobel MP, urged these proposals to be brought forward in a timely manner to ensure the safety of constituents living in dangerous levels of poor air quality and swiftly tackle the international problem of climate change.