Boris Johnson has announced that cars powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK after 2030.
As part of the wider goal to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050, the original plan was announced in 2017 and aimed to ban petrol and diesel cars in 2040. The prime minister, however, said this week that the ban will be brought forward ten years.
The plan is very ambitious and part of what Johnson calls a “green industrial revolution”, which will help cut car emissions to the equivalent of 46m tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030 as well as create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the UK.
With this new goal, the government promised £1.3bn in funding to accelerate new charge points for electric vehicles across the UK, £582m in grants for people to purchase zero or ultra-low emission vehicles and making them more affordable and inclusive, and £500m over the next four years to be spent on the development and production of electric batteries.
Mike Hawes, who is the boss of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), said that whilst the government support was a start – a lot would need to be done before 2030’s ban.
“Success will depend on reassuring consumers that they can afford these new technologies, that they will deliver their mobility needs and, critically, that they can recharge as easily as they refuel,” said Hawes.
Ian Plummer, commercial director of Auto Trader, echoed the sentiment and warned that trade deals amid Brexit could worsen the costs. He said: “Tariffs of around 10% will be applied to cars coming into the UK, so the cost of electric vehicles could be as much as 30% more than what consumers are used to spending on petrol or diesel cars today.”
The move is part of a 10-point plan for a ‘green industrial revolution’, which includes developments in offshore wind, nuclear finance, and hydrogen.
AA president Edmund King welcomed the news and said that “with considerable investment and focus, the electric revolution could flourish”, however, the prime minister’s latest move is one that requires great effort – however, is it enough?
A new report from the New Automotive, a transport thinktank warns that even the 2030 goal “will do nothing to tackle the long tail of polluting cars that will be left on our roads for many years to come.”
Ben Nelmes, the head of policy at New Automotive, said that the ban will have to come in from 2026 in order to make a more significant difference and that if the ban comes in from 2030 it will still leave 21 million petrol cars on the road.
According to the report, a more significant focus needs to be made on public transport and cycling.
“Reducing car emissions means reducing petrol and diesel car miles travelled,” it said the report. “These miles will mostly be replaced by electric car miles, but they could also be reduced by modal shift including public transport as well as cycling and walking. The Department for Transport must work with departments across government to ensure that policy supports a reduction in petrol and diesel car miles.”