MPs push UK Government to set earlier date for petrol and diesel vehicle ban
MPs are urging the government to start banning new sales of petrol and diesel vehicles from 2032, eight years sooner than currently planned.
Such a move would push consumers to buy electric vehicles, which should lower the UK’s carbon footprint.
Ministers must also “get a grip” and tackle a lack of charging points, which is one of the main barriers to people buying electric cars, the parliamentary Business Committee warned in a report.
This tallies with a report from Aurora Energy Research released yesterday that recommended the construction of an additional three million charging points at commercial and industrial sites by 2040.
Current government plans are for sales of new “conventional” petrol and diesel cars to be ended by 2040 as part of efforts to clean up transport which causes air pollution and is the worst sector for carbon emissions in the UK.
The report also finds that the “current fiscal regime” for EVs provides inconsistent messages about the Government’s ambitions for the technology and recommends that it aligns new fiscal changes with the zero emissions target.
“The Government should ensure buyers of electric vehicles benefit from preferential Vehicle Excise Duty rates and that the introduction of preferential rates on company car tax for EVs is brought forward without delay,” the report states.
It also wants to maintain plug-in grants for new electric vehicles at current levels, rather than cutting them from November as announced earlier this month.
The committee warns that the Government’s targets are “vague and unambitious”, and the lack of clarity on which vehicles will and will not be sold in 2040 is “unacceptable” for an industry trying to make investments.
A range of cars are beginning to replace conventional vehicles from electric models powered by a battery charged from the grid to hybrids with an engine and a small battery which charges from braking but cannot be plugged in.
The 2040 target puts the UK behind a range of countries including Norway, which is aiming for an end to combustion engine cars in 2025; India, China, the Netherlands and Ireland with a 2030 goal; and Scotland with a target of 2032.
A clear UK target is needed for new cars and vans to be “truly zero-emission” - and it should be brought forward to 2032 to make the UK a world leader, not left in the passenger seat on electric vehicle (EV) development, the MPs said.
The committee criticised the Government for leaving delivery of a national charging network to local authorities and private companies, and called for regulations to provide an extensive, reliable and standardised public system.
Committee chairwoman Rachel Reeves said: “The Government cannot simply will the ends and leave local government, or private companies, to deliver the means.
“The Government needs to get a grip and lead on co-ordinating the financial support and technical know-how necessary for local authorities to promote this infrastructure and help ensure that electric cars are an attractive option for consumers.”
Rapid charge points in remote and rural areas should be subsidised by the Government, the MPs said.
“Electric vehicles are increasingly popular, and present exciting opportunities for the UK to develop an internationally competitive EV industry and reduce our carbon emissions,” Reeves said.
“But, for all the rhetoric of the UK becoming a world leader in EVs, the reality is that the Government’s deeds do not match the ambitions of their words.”