Last month I talked about the fog that surrounded the green agenda and the need for business to be given some clarity about what they should be doing for the best. Well, in the last few weeks we’ve had one clear announcement, and it was a bit of a shocker.
The Government’s decision to bring forward from 2040 to 2035 the end of petrol and diesel car production was not unexpected, but the inclusion of hybrid vehicles in the ban certainly was and I think it will be a cause of great concern to rural businesses who rely on their cars, vans and lorries to operate.
Can we really believe that all the logistics will be in place within 15 years and that electric vehicles will be affordable and efficient enough for our needs ? If they are not, then it spells trouble for rural businesses. We’ve seen it before with the provision of high speed broadband. It was fine for businesses in big cities where it could be installed for large numbers of people relatively easily. But it was a different story when it came to the countryside, putting our members at a disadvantage, and I fear it could be the same story with electrification.
Don’t get me wrong, I am completely supportive of cutting our carbon footprint in pursuit of sustainability, but I do think politicians need to do a reality check on what is possible. For example, self charging hybrid vehicles drastically reduce fuel use, their technology is well proven and they don’t need electric charging points. OK, they are not zero emitters but they go a long way in the right direction and could be a practical compromise in rural areas until the full infrastructure is in place.
But away from environmental concerns I sense an increasing spirit of confidence and optimism among our members as we approach springtime. There are signs that the housing market is starting to wake up and there is good demand for business premises in the Chew Valley. We’ve got some brilliant businesses in this area and I am looking forward to seeing them prosper.
For more information about Chew Valley Chamber of Commerce visit the website chewvalleychamber.co.uk