The U.K. government plans to invest more than 800 million pounds ($1 billion) in new driverless and zero-emission vehicle technology as it seeks to boost its economy while leaving the European Union.
Investment in research and new recharging infrastructure is intended to make Britain a “leader” in electric and autonomous vehicles, Queen Elizabeth II said in a speech marking the state opening of Parliament in London on Wednesday. The technology may be worth 28 billion pounds to the economy by 2035, the government estimates.
In order to deliver on that goal, the government will:
- Extend mandatory vehicle insurance to cover the use of automated vehicles
- Set a target for almost every car and van to be zero emission by 2050
- Allow government to require motorway service areas and large gasoline stations to install electric vehicle recharging points
- Require a set of common standards for charging points so they can be used widely across all vehicles
- Invest 200 million pounds in researching and testing driverless car infrastructure and 600 million pounds during the course of this Parliament in supporting the ultra-low emission vehicles, sums which had been previously announced
The measures were welcomed by businesses, which had been concerned that Prime Minister Theresa May’s focus on withdrawing Britain from the European Union would push issues like air pollution down the agenda.
“It is encouraging to see the government’s desire to make the U.K. a leader in new industries and enhance its role on the world stage,”
said Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group, an alliance of business leaders, politicians and non-profit groups that’s pressing the Treasury on environmental policies.
Read more: Bloomberg