UK car industry hits out at possible delay to petrol car ban

by | Sep 20, 2023

(Sharecast News) – The UK motor industry has criticised plans by the government to potentially water down a number of core green policies.
In a statement released on Tuesday night, in response to a BBC report, prime minister Rishi Sunak reiterated a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

But he said the government now wanted to achieve it in a “more proportionate way”.

According to multiple reports, all citing sources at Number 10, Sunak will give a speech later this week detailing a number of policy changes.

Arguing that Britain has already over-delivered on climate change, he is expected to push back the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars – currently set to come in to force in 2030 – to 2035.

Other changes could include weakening plans to phase out the installation of gas boilers by 2035, dropping new energy efficiency regulations for homes and pledging no new taxes to discourage flying.

The home secretary, Suella Braverman, said on Wednesday that the government was “not going to save the planet by bankrupting the British people”.

But Kate Brankin, chair of Ford UK, was critical of the plans, noting that the car industry had already invested significantly to meet the 2030 deadline.

She continued: “Ford has announced a global $50bn commitment to electrification, launching nine electric vehicles. The range is support by £430m invested in the Ford’s UK development and manufacturing facilities, with further funding planned for the 2030 UK timeframe.

“This is the biggest industry transformation in over a century, and the UK 2030 target is a vital catalyst.

“Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment and consistency. A relaxation of 2030 would undermine all three.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, was also critical.

He said: “Britain can and should be a leader in zero emission mobility, both as a manufacturers and market. To make this a reality, however, consumers must want to make the switch, which requires from government a clear, consistent message, attractive incentives and charging infrastructure that gives confidence rather than anxiety.

“Confusion and uncertainty will only hold them back.”

The government is unable to drop the commitment to reaching net zero by 2050, as the target was made legally binding when the Climate Change Act was amended in 2019.

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