A coalition of global investors and micromobility tech CEOs have written to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging for micromobility legislation.
Currently, the UK only permits use of rental e-scooters under government trials which are set to end in May 2024. Despite clear demand for these new modes of transport, and three extensions to government trials, the UK is now one of the only countries in Europe which has failed to formally legalise e-scooters.
Fredrik Hjelm, CEO and Co-founder of shared micromobility operator Voi Technology, told Zag Daily: “Out of all the countries we operate in, the UK is the only country where we don’t have clarity on micromobility legislation.”
The letter addressed to the PM, which saw signatures from other micromobility operators such as Lime, Dott and Zeus, warns the UK Government of steering away investors with a market that fails to recognise the micromobility sector’s potential.
The sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and is set to rise from its current value of $180 million to $440 billion by 2030.
Voi alone saw 2.3 million riders in the UK make over 34 million journeys since the start of the government trials in 2020.
With clear benefits to the economy, micromobility operators are waiting to be welcomed at a national level so that they can confidently continue to invest in the UK.
“We continue to see the UK as one of our key markets. But it’s easier to make long-term investments with high predictability in countries where there’s more clarity,” Fredrik said.
Since e-scooter trials commenced three years ago, millions of pounds have been pumped into the UK economy through jobs, infrastructure, and research, and local high streets have also seen a boost in retail activity.
Yet the national government has failed to respond to these gains.
“What it comes down to is priorities,” Fredrik said. “What we want to see here is micromobility moved up, and our government nailing the overall perception of being a forward-thinking, progressive, technology-driven country. As the Chancellor and the PM said, they want the UK to be the next Silicon Valley.
“Well, put your money where your mouth is.”
Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) revealed that business confidence in the UK falls behind that of France and Germany, as well as the EU and OECD average.
The collective letter highlighted that blocking growth in micromobility outrightly goes against the Prime Minister and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s ambitions to welcome green tech companies into the UK.
“Without a clear indication from your government of its intentions to bring forward micromobility legislation,” the letter read, “we strongly believe the UK will continue to fall further behind its European and global counterparts in this industry.”