Ulster Unionist Party Economy Spokesperson, Alan Chambers MLA, has said that the announcement by UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP that new diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040 has major implications for electricity and energy policy in Northern Ireland.
Alan Chambers MLA said:
“The Environment Secretary’s eye catching announcement sets a clear direction of travel in terms of phasing out diesel and petrol driven vehicles and replacing them with electric powered ones. Obviously there are major technological challenges to overcome to achieve this, but the move also flags up a particular energy policy challenge for Northern Ireland.
“In the Assembly last year the Ulster Unionist Party flagged up the looming crisis in the security of electricity supply in Northern Ireland. This was downplayed by the then DUP/ Sinn Fein Executive, but our position was vindicated just a couple of months ago by a House of Commons Inquiry and Report which stated that in present circumstances, Northern Ireland will go into an electricity generating deficit in 2021.
“Clearly as we have said, there needs to be substantial investment in the electricity grid in Northern Ireland and decisions need to be taken on local electricity generation to secure supply into the future. However, at the moment all we have at Stormont is an energy policy vacuum and no Executive to provide and implement a coherent energy policy.
“Decisions need to be taken now to ensure that we can keep the lights on after 2021, never mind gear up to the massive challenge of supplying the potential boom in electric vehicles in the decades to come.”