SNP President and Member of the European Parliament's Transport Committee Ian Hudghton MEP has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament which sees renewed backing for hydrogen powered cars.

The SNP MEP is backing European Commission proposals to support the development of cars powered by alternative energy sources. It is hoped the simplified European requirements for new hydrogen cars will make it easier for manufacturers to launch new models across the EU, as well as making it easier and cheaper for consumers to choose a hydrogen powered vehicle. But the MEP called on the European Commission to ensure that any increase in hydrogen fuel production would be environmentally sustainable. The SNP MEP said:

"Developing cars and other vehicles that run off clean energy sources is vitally important as we try to face up to the challenges of climate change.

"We have a long way to go, but this new European legislation will simplify the approval process for car manufacturers and should bring benefits to the consumer in terms of cost and safety. We've also made the important point that the Commission needs to ensure potential users have sufficient access to this new fuel source, if it's to be a success.

"This is an area with huge potential. In the UK, sales of vehicles fuelled from alternative sources shot up from just a couple of hundred in 2000 to over sixteen thousand last year.

"The European Commission is right to continue exploring the potential of vehicles powered from alternative energy sources and I'll be supporting this work as a member of the European Parliament's Transport Committee. They must however ensure that the process used to make hydrogen fuel is non-polluting or we risk undermining any potential environmental benefit."

MEPs meeting in Brussels voted to approve legislative proposals on 'Motor vehicles: type-approval of hydrogen powered vehicles'.

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