The Labour Party has urged the government to bring forward the ban on new petrol, diesel and hybrid car sales.
Under current plans, sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans are to be banned in the UK from 2040. However, in February 2020, the government launched a consultation on bringing forward this date to 2035.
“Government is seeking views on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans from 2040 to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible,” it said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the government’s desire to bring forward the date at the launch of the COP26 UN Climate Summit in February. The event was due to take place in Glasgow next month, but has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation.
The event will now take place in November 2021, with the organisers saying that “holding an ambitious” COP26 is no longer possible “in light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of Covid-19”.
‘Ambitious but achievable’
Now, Matthew Pennycook, Labour’s shadow minister for climate change, has written to transport secretary Grant Shapps calling on him to bring forward the date to 2030.
He said: “2030 is an ambitious but achievable date by which to phase out the sale of new petrol, diesel, and hybrid vehicles, one that would give a new lease of life to the UK car industry, whilst combatting climate breakdown and cleaning up the air that dangerously pollutes so many of our towns and cities.
“But as well as accelerating the phase out, the Government must also set out a credible plan to get there – one that backs the low-carbon jobs and industries of the future and ensures that workers and communities are properly supported in the transition to a fairer and cleaner economy.
“It’s time for Ministers to seize this opportunity as part of a world-leading green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, creating good jobs across the country, and generating real momentum for next year’s COP26 climate summit.”
‘We are doing a lot of work’
The transport secretary hinted that he would support an earlier date. “The Prime Minister last week has said we would like to do it by 2035 at the latest. We have said 2035 or even 2032,” he said earlier this year.
“That’s a consultation for 2032. We have domestic car producers and we want to help them transition so we are doing a lot of work.”
A 2030 deadline would bring the UK in line with some other European nations, including Denmark, Ireland, Germany the Netherlands and Sweden. In Norway, a ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel cars is expected to come into force in 2025.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the industry “could just about make 2035”, but warned that there would be “significant social, industrial [and] commercial consequences” if the date is moved forward.
What’s clear is that the situation is unclear. The current date of 2040 will almost certainly be brought forward to 2035, but there are strong calls for the ban to be imposed in 2032 or 2030.
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