Ve­hi­cle de­bate steps up a gear

Paisley Daily Express - - Front Page -

That’s the first week of par­lia­ment done and dusted and it’s well and truly ‘back to school’ for me.

One thing I’ve al­ways loved about be­ing Pais­ley’s MSP is I never have that dreaded Sun­day feel­ing. I’m very lucky that I never feel un­happy about re­turn­ing to par­lia­ment.

Last week, I jumped right back into things and spoke in a de­bate on ul­tralow emis­sion ve­hi­cles and, for once, my for­mer job as a car sales­man was very use­ful.

I was very happy for the op­por­tu­nity to speak on this mat­ter as I think it is very im­por­tant – es­pe­cially at the start of a new year – to look to­wards the fu­ture and do all we can to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment and our planet.

We are very lucky in Scot­land to have such a beau­ti­ful green and lush land­scape, but we must pro­tect it and make sure our fa­mous hills, glens and scenery are there for many gen­er­a­tions to come.

Elec­tric ve­hi­cles are def­i­nitely a step in the right di­rec­tion and ul­tra-low emis­sion ve­hi­cles give us the op­por­tu­nity to set a path for less pol­lu­tion and im­prove the qual­ity of air in the places that we live, work and visit.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has pledged to in­tro­duce low emis­sion zones in Scot­land’s four big­gest cities by 2020, and phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars by 2032.

This is years ahead of the UK gov­ern­ment’s tar­get – and the SNP, has com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing 20 elec­tric towns by 2025.

When re­search­ing for my speech, I was very en­cour­aged by the rise in elec­tric ve­hi­cle usage in Ren­frew­shire alone.

Fig­ures re­leased by the Depart­ment of Trans­port re­vealed that the num­ber of ul­tra-low emis­sion and elec­tric ve­hi­cles in our county in­creased by 179 per cent be­tween 2017 and 2018, with a 130 per cent in­crease since 2016 across the whole of Scot­land.

In or­der to keep in­creas­ing the amount of elec­tric cars on our streets, I have con­tacted mul­ti­ple car com­pa­nies and en­gaged in quite a few dis­cus­sions about how they as man­u­fac­tur­ers are mak­ing progress.

It is clear that car com­pa­nies are mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion too there­fore we, as leg­is­la­tors, must en­sure that we work with them to achieve a pos­i­tive out­come.

I know the SNP will con­tinue this progress and main­tain Scot­land’s rep­u­ta­tion as a global leader on tack­ling air pol­lu­tion and cli­mate change.

It’s truly won­der­ful that our coun­try is at the fore­front of en­vi­ron­men­tal progress I think the rest of the UK could cer­tainly take a leaf out of our book.

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