Government to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2030?

Published:  23 September, 2020

The sale of new petrol and diesel cars could be coming even sooner than expected, with the government looking to end the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles as early as 2030, 10 years earlier than the previously announced 2040 deadline.

The move is being framed as part of a raft of new green policies that would be intended to deliver an environmentally friendly post-Coronavirus economic recovery. This is not the first time that the government has looked to accelerate the shift away from fossil fuels. It has already been looking to move the ban to 2035 or even 2032.

However, IMI CEO Steve Nash has warned that brining forward the ban could put motorists and automotive workers at serious risk: “Is the automotive sector really ready for a 2030 ban on sale of new petrol and diesel cars?”

“There is much speculation that the government is planning to move forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030, with hybrids given a reprieve to 2035.  I admire the confidence of those feeding this speculation – apparently there are assurances that the infrastructure will be ready by this date. But there is so much more to consider than simply the charging infrastructure.

“Indeed, in some ways the charging network issue is relatively simple to resolve. t just needs investment, and rather a lot of it.  However, we won’t get the network we need if the government leaves it largely to private businesses to solve the problem, as it has done up to now. The investments made by our government are paltry compared to other countries.”

Training is a big issue as well said Steve: “I worry that a much bigger piece of the jigsaw has been forgotten. What about the technicians to service and repair this new automotive technology which, in turn, will give motorists the essential confidence they need?

“The automotive sector has seen – much like many other industries – massive falls in sales over the last six months as a result of COVID-19. Right now, therefore, the appetite for recruitment and training is low as recent data attests. Yet training of the existing workforce on these new drivetrains, as well as recruitment of the next generation of workers is vital.  

“The latest Department for Education data shows that Apprenticeship starts in the Automotive sector in July 2020 fell by 59% compared to the same period in 2019. And the latest ONS data shows that approximately 2% of jobs in the sector have been made permanently redundant with potentially an additional 7,200 planned before the end of September. Further underlying the financial pressures facing the automotive sector, over half (56%) stated that COVID-19 had increased the risk of insolvency of their business; an increase of 3% since last reporting.

Steve added: “Against this backdrop, and with so much of the country waiting to hear if new restrictions may impact business income further, does it really make sense to heap the pressure on an already beleaguered sector?”

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