UNITED KINGDOM: Boris Johnson’s former press secretary, Allegra Stratton has yet again come up with a bizarre comment dismissing the environment, despite being the prime minister’s now climate spokesperson.
Allegra Stratton has criticised the critical infrastructure needed to run electric cars that she says is inconvenient to stop the vehicle and charge, as also increases the length of the journey.
Stratton revealed in an interview with Times Radio on Monday that she drove a “third-hand” diesel Volkswagen Golf. Stratton justified this as – she needed to visit elderly relatives “200, 250 miles away”, and that having to stop the vehicle to charge it would slow the journey down, particularly with two young children who might otherwise remain asleep for the duration of the ride.
“They’re all journeys that I think would be at least one quite long stop to charge,” she said, “I don’t fancy it just yet.”
Not-so appreciated behaviour
It was not the first outspoken comment by Stratton to raise eyebrows in Westminster. Over the weekend, she said the UK’s goal of tackling the climate crisis by reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 was “too far away”.
In the interview, Stratton also said that despite the damage that aviation emissions do to the environment, people had the right to take flights on holiday.
“This government isn’t in the business of dictating what your lifestyle choices should be,” she said. “It’s up to you to decide where you want to go on holiday. And it’s up to you to decide how you want to go on holiday.”
Electric car experts to the defence-rescue
After the comments of Allegra Stratton, electric car experts have rallied to the defence of electric vehicles.
Electric cars have an average range of about 200 miles, suitable for the vast majority of journeys taken on British roads, while top-range models have a more extensive range of about 250 miles.
An increasing number of chargers on British roads can also charge a car battery from about 20% full to 80% within half an hour, accommodating even long journeys without much disruption, car experts told the Guardian.
In other news, Stratton’s comments provoked something called ‘range anxiety’ – the fear electric vehicle drivers sometimes suffer that they may run out of juice before reaching a battery charging point.
Ian Plummer, commercial director of Auto Trader, said there were now 25,000 public charging points in the UK, of which nearly 5,000 were rapid or ultra-rapid.
Plummer said the government also needed to make the case for electric cars better. “We need very clear messaging that not only dispels outdated misconceptions but encourages consumers to make the switch on a large scale – 40% of consumers we asked didn’t know government grants are even available, let alone understand the different charging speeds.”
Adrian Keen, chief executive of InstaVolt, an electric car charging network company, added: “Comment’s like Allegra’s continue to perpetuate these barriers [to the take-up of electric vehicles] by fuelling archaic negative connotations with electric vehicles. In her position of authority as government climate spokesperson, it’s potentially incredibly damaging to the EV sector – and the government’s climate change targets as a whole – to hear that she is not encouraging uptake, rather damning it.”