5th October 2023: HCVA Heritage Matters Insights Day

HCVA Heritage Matters Insights Day - Greg Smith MP Delivers Keynote Speech

In the second of a series of transcriptions summarising the HCVA's recent Heritage Matters Trade Members' Insight Day, Greg Smith MP delivers his keynote speech.

“There’s no doubt about it, HCVA is a fantastic organisation. 

Championing the automotive industry and those who support it is important to me. Both of my grandfathers worked at Longbridge for Austin, so I have personal and professional interest. As such, it’s a great honour to share my experiences as a backbench MP with you, as well as learning from everyone in the room today, so I can take your thoughts back to parliament. There is a view that politicians know everything, but they certainly don’t, and events like this are very useful. Our shared passion unites us today.

Rest assured, I am personally deeply committed to championing your cause in Parliament.

Classic cars are a window to our past and a testament to human ingenuity and a bridge between generations. These magnificent vehicles are a rolling piece of history and should be celebrated for generations to come. They are so much more than wood, metal, oil and petrol. They represent the spirit of adventure that inspired our country - the roar of a vintage engine, the timeless elegance of a classic car or memory of your first car.

We share this love which touches on some of the most critical issues of our time. And we face the dual challenge of sustainability and preservation of heritage. The car is seen by some people as a symbol of something that should go.

But imagine the impact of classic cars run on sustainable fuels. I believe the HCVA can help guide us toward a more sustainable future.

I’ve championed sustainable and synthetic fuels in Parliament over the past couple of years and this summer enjoyed a six day, 23 stop tour of my constituency, talking to the people about local and national issues from the bench seats of an old Series 3 Land Rover powered by sustainable carbon neutral fuel from P1.

To truly embrace synthetic fuels they need to be scaled and we need effective Government regulation. Motorsport, agriculture, freight and logistics. What will the combine harvester of the future run on? Synthetics are the answer to rail, air, logistics and more.

There are other obstacles too - including restrictive issues on preservation. Of course, we need a balanced approach for safety and heritage. Please share your ideas with me and your MPs too.

It’s great to see DVLA representatives here today – we’re all aware there has a been a problem for a long time about how they treat classic vehicles. Issuing Q plates for no good reason including seat belts and roll cages. Repairs that would not raise an eyebrow on a new vehicle… But progress is being made by direct intervention in meetings with Sir Gregg Knight MP, Karl McCartney MP and Richard Holden MP – the latter is very receptive and we have confidence. It will be great to work with them moving forward.

HCVA symbolises a passion for the movement and embodies the spirit. A great foundation has been laid. Thank you or all that you do.”