TAUNTON Deane's MP has been elected as chairman of a government group which aims to encourage usage of electric vehicles.

Rebecca Pow has been announced as the new chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on electric vehicles.

She was elected after being nominated by the former chairman, Dame Cheryl Gillan MP.

Dame Cheryl will continue on as vice chairman after growing the membership to more than 40 parliamentarians over the past year.

Ms Gillan said: “It has been extremely rewarding to chair the APPG through its first year.

"In the past 14 months, membership has expanded greatly, our events have been a successful and well-attended, and the group has become an important forum for discussion within parliament and the industry.

“Now is an exciting time for not only the group but for the electric vehicles sector as a whole. I am eager to see how the group advances in the capable hands of Rebecca Pow and look forward to continuing to contribute to the progression of this vital technology through my role as vice chair.”

The APPG has outlined three key areas of focus for the upcoming year, including: future battery and electric vehicle manufacturing, ‘Smart charging’ and other secondary legislation stemming from 2018’s Automated and Electric Vehicles Act, and other public charging-related issues.

Ms Pow has a track record for championing environmental issues in Parliament, including input into the banning of microbeads.

She said, new chairman of the APPG on electric vehicles said: "As a longstanding environmentalist I am pleased to have been elected chairman of this timely and important group. Electric vehicles represent one of the great industrial evolutions of our age and will play a key role in the battle against climate change and in tackling poor air quality.

“I thank Dame Cheryl for her role in breathing life into this group and look forward to diving into key issues facing this sector in the coming months.”

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association said: “I am delighted that Rebecca Pow has been elected as the new chairman for the APPG on electric vehicles. Her green credentials and commitment to tackling climate change fills me with confidence that the APPG will continue to grow and develop.

“I am grateful for all the time and energy that Dame Cheryl dedicated to the APPG and I am pleased that she will continue to take an active role in her new position as vice chairman. It is inspiring to see two ambitious and determined women leading in a sector that is traditionally dominated by men – even more so that the AGM took place in the days leading up to International Women’s Day.”