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Electric cars key to greener future

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A rapid expansion in the number of electric cars on UK roads is needed as part of radical new plans to slash carbon emissions, a Government committee says.

The Climate Change Committee, publishing its first progress report on efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in the UK, set a target of 1.7 million electric cars on UK roads by 2020.

It also directed government thinking towards considering more tolls and congestion charges on roads and in cities, as part of efforts to tackle rising emissions from vehicles and push people towards greener public transport.

In order to ease the move to electric vehicles the committee said the Government must part fund infrastructure to allow people to charge up their electric cars and provide financial incentives to encourage people to buy 'green' cars.

Other measures that are being considered by the committee include thousands of wind turbines and more nuclear power stations.

The aim is also to cut residential emissions by delivering insulation and new energy efficient boilers to millions of homes.

In the past five years, greenhouse gas emissions have been falling at a rate of less than 1% a year, with the most significant pollutant, carbon dioxide, only dropping by 0.5% annually.

There are currently only about 200 electric cars on UK roads.

© Press Association 2009