Government aims for new 2035 petrol/diesel ban deadline

Published:  04 February, 2020

A ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles could come even sooner than expected, with government now saying it intends to bring the deadline forward to 2035 – or even earlier if possible.

The ban will also be widened to include hybrids for the first time as well. The ban was originally announced in July 2017.  The revision will be examined in a consultation. 2040 had been previously announced as the date for stopping new petrol and diesel vehicle sales. However, during his launch of the COP26 UN climate talks, set for November and being held in Glasgow, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined plans to make the UK a leader in tackling climate change, with the revised 2035 date among the headline points. One of the reasons behind the revised deadline is that it is believed that the original 2040 target would leave combustion engine vehicles still running after 2050.

At the launch, held at the Science Museum in London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “As we set out our plans to hit our ambitious 2050 net zero target across this year, so we shall urge others to join us in pledging net zero emissions. There can be no greater responsibility than protecting our planet, and no mission that a global Britain is prouder to serve."

Commenting on the revised plan, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “It’s extremely concerning that government has seemingly moved the goalposts for consumers and industry on such a critical issue. Manufacturers are fully invested in a zero emissions future, with some 60 plug-in models now on the market and 34 more coming in 2020. However, with current demand for this still expensive technology still just a fraction of sales, it’s clear that accelerating an already very challenging ambition will take more than industry investment. This is about market transformation, yet we still don’t have clarity on the future of the plug-in car grant - the most significant driver of EV uptake - which ends in just 60 days’ time, while the UK’s charging network is still woefully inadequate.

“If the UK is to lead the global zero emissions agenda, we need a competitive marketplace and a competitive business environment to encourage manufacturers to sell and build here. A date without a plan will merely destroy value today. So we therefore need to hear how government plans to fulfil its ambitions in a sustainable way, one that safeguards industry and jobs, allows people from all income groups and regions to adapt and benefit, and, crucially, does not undermine sales of today’s low emission technologies, including popular hybrids, all of which are essential to deliver air quality and climate change goals now.”

AA President Edmund King added: “We must question whether we will have a sufficient supply of a full cross-section of zero emissions vehicles in less than fifteen years. We will also need a package of grants coupled with a comprehensive charging infrastructure at homes and in towns, cities, motorways and rural locations. At the very least the Government should take up the AA demand to cut VAT on new EVs to boost sales and make vehicles more affordable to those on lower incomes.”

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