A new report has stressed that outdated energy and infrastructure policies must urgently be modernised if the government is to meet its ambitious targets for ensuring all new cars sold are zero-emission by 2040.
The Smart Cities: Fair investment for sustainable growth report, published by Localis, calls on government to devolve certain Ofgem powers to city regions and strategic authorities, allowing them to develop their own ‘smart city’ plans and energy policies built upon their own expertise and understanding of place.
The think tank says that social divides in communities could be deepened with millions of people set to miss out on the environmental and financial benefits of electric vehicles. To combat this, local authorities should be able to form their own consortiums using existing knowledge of their local areas, and also be empowered to work with private energy network providers to deliver the infrastructure they need for the future.
The report authors also recommend that government should produce a standardised framework for how EV charging infrastructure is built and upgraded.
Jonathan Werran, chief executive at Localis, said: “Without a change in regulation, behaviour and a wholesale transfer of powers for local energy policies, we risk a tale of two cities in our major urban centres – deepening levels of inequality between the prosperous and more deprived parts of town. A ‘devolution revolution’ in locally-regulated energy markets has the potential to accelerate the nation’s switch to clean growth, turn UK cities into powerhouses for sustainable and inclusive prosperity and improve livelihoods in towns and cities across the UK.”