It’s time to get politics off our roads

Drivers are suffering due to the politicisation of transport, says Paul Holland, UK managing director of charging pass operator Allstar

The UK’s energy and transportation strategy has been too politicised for far too long, and drivers are paying the price. With the near certainty of a new resident of Number 10 any day now, the country needs a bold strategy to break through years of deadlock – and possibly a total reorganisation of the way that energy and transportation work in the UK.

The problems facing the UK’s transition to electric vehicles aren’t the matter of shifting public will or building consensus, they’re the transition from a 20th century technology to a 21st. They’re a matter of engineering: building new types of drivetrain for heavy goods vehicles so that they can stop running on diesel. They’re a matter of building infrastructure: not just new EV chargers, but an electricity grid that can support many more megawatts of electricity running through it. Lastly, it’s a matter of giving people the information that they need: being radically transparent about fuel prices so drivers and businesses can make an informed decision about how to fuel their vehicles.

It’s hard to see the changes we need happening when we’ve had four Secretaries of State for Transport in the past five years, one in office for only seven weeks. Party politicians just don’t have incentives to do much more than placate drivers with fuel duty freezes or play culture wars by setting the date for the phasing out sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles back by five years.

A new government could change the way that energy and transport works in the UK by running the sectors more like the Bank of England, as a separate entity apart from party politics that just has to deal with the facts, not necessarily what wins votes. Freed from the political cycle, it could make long-term changes knowing that they won’t be overturned by the next party and start to really make progress on bringing the UK’s transportation system into the 21st century.

With less than a week to go to the election and clearly a change in government in some way shape or form, the UK’s motorists, whether they are individual drivers or the managers of fleets with hundreds of vehicles are quite rightly asking: what’s in it for us?

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