The IMechE is encouraged by the inclusion of the Modern Transport Bill within the Queen’s speech and the drive in the UK towards intelligent mobility.
Responding to the Queen’s speech, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE) Head of Transport and Manufacturing, Philippa Oldham said, “The Queen’s announcement that the Government will bid to ensure the UK is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport is welcomed. It enforces the current guidance coming from Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV).
“Great Britain has the opportunity to become a global leader in developing autonomous vehicles as we have some of the most open regulation in the world with the Department for Transport issuing its Code of Practice for testing last year. In addition this open regulation should attract investment to the country encouraging others to come and test and develop their products here.”
Philippa Oldham went on to point out that care is needed to make sure autonomous vehicles are safely integrated into the existing fleet and that there is a real demand amongst the UK public, something which can be done by bringing together industry, legislators, regulators and members of the general public to ensure timely integration and the implementation of new regulatory regimes.
“It is particularly encouraging that Government will make insurance available to users of driverless cars, and measures to encourage investment into electric vehicles, commercial space planes and drones is positive news for business and transport users,” she continued.
Neighbourhood Planning & Infrastructure Bill
Plans announced to streamline planning conditions will also help speed up the construction of much needed housing, but Government should look at the role that could be played by modular off-site building. Off-site construction technologies have advanced greatly in recent years and can offer shorter build times, better quality, better energy efficiency, less waste, and lower costs for buyers. In addition to this the government should consider the role that off-grid energy technologies can play in new housing developments. These technologies, such as air source heating and solar generation can contribute to a reduction in UK emissions and reduce pressure on the national grids.
Commenting on the bill, Philippa Oldham continued, “It is good news that the National Infrastructure Commission is to be given a statutory footing but Government must listen to their recommendations and act upon them in a timely fashion. With any developments of infrastructure we must make sure all options are considered including looking at the role of off-grid generation as and better integrated transport networks.”