Company Car Today - Issue 54 - 26th June 2019

LILIAN GREENWOOD CHAIR, TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE Coffee with... Paul Barker grabs a cuppa and a chat with one of fleet's most influential figures NOTTINGHAM’S WPL LEAD Nottingham introduced a workplace parking levy in 2012 to help fund public transport improvements, which Labour’s Nottingham South MP, Lilian Greenwood, says was a pioneering move to make public transport a viable alternative to the car. “There needs to be a suite of measures – it’s about carrot and stick,” she told Company Car Today . “If I look at Nottingham, there have been some difficult decisions made, but equally the revenue from the Workplace Parking Levy has been used to invest in enhanced public transport to give people a realistic option to be able to travel. “It doesn’t mean everybody has to; if there are fewer cars, there is less congestion and it is better for those that have to drive.” But though it has been in place for seven years, no other cities have yet followed Nottingham’s lead. “There has been a lot of interest; I think it’s politically very difficult to do these things,” Greenwood continued. “People don’t want to pay more to drive to work. They don’t say they’re happy to pay more tax. The push for cities is to have air quality plans, and the fact is that there is interest in what Nottingham has done, because it is hopefully on target to raise its air quality. “I’m not saying it’s the only way but it is one way to address those issues.” Lilian Greenwood has been Labour MP for Nottingham South since 2010, and chairs the Transport Select Committee that she has served on for the past nine years. Q What is the role of the Transport Select Committee? A The committee has a hugely important role in holding the Government to account and shining a light on the issues that really matter to people. One of the strengths of the committee is that we made it with MPs from all different parties. When we come up with recommendations, which the Government must respond to, we have the weight of views from across the political spectrum behind us. We’ll continue to stand up for those that don’t always find it easy to get heard and make sure we ask the difficult questions of those who should be answering them. Q A key topic for the fleet industry is electric vehicles, and how to meet the green agenda while still enabling business travel. What could be done to encourage that move across? A What people need more than anything is clarity – what do we want people to buy and to what extent are we supporting people to buy a cleaner, greener choice? One of the big issues around people moving to having an electric vehicle is confidence that they are going to be able to charge it – that’s really important, and obviously making sure that there is a sufficient charging network is one of the issues that has been problematic. But it is also about tax, about vehicle excise duty, about the price signals that you send to people that are going to determine what choices they make. My overriding concern is not just that we need to move to have cleaner vehicles, but about having fewer private vehicles on the road. And that’s enabling people to make a different choice, be it to walk or cycle or to use public transport. Q How do you see that change taking place in practice? A There are interesting things happening around new technology that enable us COMPANY CAR TODAY.CO.UK 20