This week in 2000

Here’s a more recent titbit from the archives, with a report on an ambitious 10-year government plan to promote the development of greener fuels and vehicles

Unveiled by an unlikely champion — John ‘two-jags’ Prescott — the £69m package of pollution-busting measures was a direct response to the findings of the government’s cleaner vehicle task force, set up in 1997.

We wrote that ‘the extra investment includes £30m for the ongoing Powershift programme to promote cleaner fuel vehicles, £30m… to expand the Cleaner Vehicles Programme to help local authorities meet air quality objectives and £9m… to support the introduction of technologies such as fuel cell and hybrid vehicles.’

Announcing the plans, Prescott was brimming with optimism, hinting at a transformation on our roads by the end of the decade. ‘The package I am announcing today confirms the commitment in our 10-year transport plan to accelerate the take-up of cleaner fuels and cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles,’ said Prescott. ‘It demonstrates the government’s commitment to tackling the impact of vehicles on air quality and climate change by promoting clean fuels and technology.’

Ten years later, and despite the odd fuel cell bus, hybrid cars if you can afford them and a smattering of tiny electric cars pootling about our cities, the reality doesn’t quite measure up to the predictions. But never fear. in a neat demonstration of the arbitrary nature of road-maps, the government has a new 10-year plan. Announced last month by transport secretary Geoff Hoon, the £100m green motoring bonanza is expected to be spent on initiatives such as low carbon vans and electric vehicles. Sound familiar?

Jon Excell