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Tories launch eco transport plan

Date: 23 January 2009   |   Author: Tom Webster

Theresa Villiers

Fleets will be urged to adopt electric cars under new plans from the Conservative party, should they win the next election.

The plans have been revealed alongside a shadow cabinet reshuffle that sees Theresa Villiers (pictured) hold onto the shadow transport post and Ken Clarke return to the Tory front bench as shadow business secretary.

The party has proposed incentives for electricity providers to set up a national charging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The Tories hope that by providing more charging points, Britain will lead the way in taking fossil fuel vehicles off the road.

"Moving to an all-electric fleet would reduce UK carbon emissions by around 22%," the party claimed.

The plans were outlined in a green paper delivered by party leader David Cameron, who also plans to update the rail network with new high-speed links between UK?cities in the north and south, which he claims would also remove the need for a third runway at Heathrow. Labour's controversial plans to increase the airport's capacity would be part-funded by scrapping motorway-widening schemes. Instead, Labour will bring in hard shoulder running on the M6, M62, M25, M40, M60 and M1.

The Conservatives would also increase funding allocated to biofuels. Existing biofuels would be more regulated regarding sustainability, and more would be done to promote the development of sustainable second-generation biofuels.

The Conservatives are also backing the emergence of electric cars over hydrogen fuel cell technology, saying the latter is "at least a decade away from being a viable technology".

They also point to the fact that the Honda FCX Clarity currently costs nearly £1m per unit to produce.

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has already announced plans to expand London's electric car network. 70 new points will be installed in 12 boroughs in the capital at a cost of £360,000.