The UK Government is currently considering proposals to bring forward the ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles, which is currently set to come into effect in 2040. It’s rumoured that the consultation is currently considering a 2035 date, while also extending the ban to hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Many organisations believe that the date should be even sooner, however.
Matthew Pennycook MP, Labour’s shadow minister for climate change, noted that 2030 was an “ambitious but achievable date” that would bring “life to the UK car industry, whilst combating 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.”
The Labour Party favours the 2030 date, arguing that bringing the date forward will not only cut emissions and reduce air pollution, but could also offer a boost to the UK’s economy. It pointed to research that suggested that jobs in the automotive industry could grow significantly thanks to demand for electric vehicle batteries, with 220,000 jobs estimated in 2040, compared to 170,000 jobs today.
While Tesla opted to build its Gigafactory in Berlin, Germany, the UK is still an attractive place for manufacturers to build batteries for electric vehicles. In fact, Britishvolt has plans for its own Gigafactory right here in the UK, with the manufacturer selecting a site in Wales earlier this year.
Growing chorus of voices back 2030 date
The Labour party isn’t alone in calling for the ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles to be brought forward to 2030. It joins the Electrical Contractors Association, BP, Shell and MPs from across the political spectrum.
One Nation, a group of more than 100 moderate Conservative MPs, have also called on the Government to back the 2030 date. That’s in addition to the Committee on Climate Change, which argued that the latest the ban should come into effect is 2032 if the UK has any hope of achieving its net zero target of 2030.
However, the The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, which represents car manufacturers has argued against bringing forward the ban, with the group even arguing that a 2035 date is unrealistic.
Of course, the automotive manufacturers represented by SMMT tend to be traditional car makers, which hope to continue making money from polluting vehicles for years to come, while they drag their heels on electrification.
The Government has yet to comment on moving the ban to 2030.