HC Deb 29 October 1998 vol 318 c257W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on his plans to reduce the level of carbon dioxide and other noxious gases in the atmosphere from motor vehicles in the United Kingdom. [57140]

Ms Glenda Jackson

On Monday of this week we published a consultation paper seeking views on policy options to meet our climate change commitments. The paper made it clear that we aim to develop a climate change programme where all sectors, including transport, play a balanced part.

The Government are already pursuing a number of measures which will help to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions from new cars and the entire car fleet. In the last Budget on 17 March 1998, Official Report, columns 1097–112, the Chancellor announced our commitment to the continuation of the fuel duty escalator raising fuel prices by 6 per cent. per annum in real terms, and plans to graduate vehicle excise duty to encourage more fuel efficient cars. These measures will encourage drivers to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles as well as use fuel more efficiently.

We also strongly support the Commission's Strategy on C02 from cars which aims to reduce the emissions of C02 from new cars sold in the EU to an average of 120 grammes per kilometre, by 2005 or 2010 at the latest. A substantial proportion of this reduction will come from the voluntary agreement which the Commission has recently secured with the car industry. This will reduce the average emissions from new cars sold in the EU by around 25 per cent. by the year 2008.

We have also set up the Cleaner Vehicles Task Force which aims to create a partnership between the Government and the private sector to promote environmentally friendly vehicles which people actually want to drive and buy. The Task Force will encourage the production, marketing and sales of vehicles which are cleaner and more fuel efficient.

The measures contained in the Transport White Paper will also play an important role by delivering a properly integrated transport system for the UK and reducing dependence on the car.