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Labour says petrol and diesel vehicle ban should be accelerated to 2030

The Labour Party has called for the Government to end the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles by 2030, five years sooner than the current proposal.

Labour said the move would help create jobs, cut carbon emissions and reduce air pollution, citing the independent Committee on Climate Change which said in June that the phase-out date must be brought forward to “2032 at the latest” if the UK is to meet its legally-binding 2050 net-zero emissions target.

Originally, vehicles powered by fossil fuels were going to be banned from 2040 before the current Conservative Government brought this date forward by five years in February.

Writing to transport secretary Grant Shapps, Labour’s shadow ministers for climate change, transport and energy said an ambitious plan was needed for a rapid transition to zero-emissions vehicles, otherwise the UK would risk further damage to both its car industry and its environmental credibility.

The motion also has cross-party support, with a third of Conservative MPs last month calling for the phase-out date to be brought forward to 2030.

Greenpeace said that the Government needed to accelerate the current timeframe so that the UK can meet its legally binding carbon targets. It said the UK’s fifth carbon budget, which runs from 2028-2032, would not be met without the ban and that it would exceed its target by 73 per cent under the current proposals.

Such a move would put the UK on a level footing with Germany and France, who have made electric vehicle production a key part of their plans to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Matthew Pennycook MP, Labour’s shadow minister for climate change, said his party’s proposals would “give a new lease of life” to the UK car industry.

“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,” he added.

“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.”

Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist, Doug Parr, said: “To be a real leader on the climate crisis, especially given the UK’s presidency of the G7 and COP26 in 2021, we have to get back on track to our long-term climate targets - bringing this phase-out date forward to 2030, with no exemptions, would mark a bold and ambitious leap in the right direction. Our evidence makes a clear case: it is now for the government to act.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We want to build a greener transport system, reduce carbon emissions and boost economic growth in the UK which is why we’re supporting the transition to zero-emission vehicles.

“Our £2.5bn programme to support grants for plug-in vehicles and funding for charge-point infrastructure at homes, workplaces, on residential streets and across the wider roads network, are all part of our world-leading package to encourage electric vehicle uptake.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), warned that pulling the phase-out forward by a decade to 2030 could have a “devastating impact” on the industry.

He said: “While we applaud the ambition, such a challenging timescale would be insufficient for the industry to transition, threatening the viability of thousands of businesses and undermining sales of today’s low-emission technologies.

“The range of electrified vehicles on the market today is ever increasing, but we need a fully funded strategy that mandates a massive investment in infrastructure, supports a competitive UK industry and encourages consumers to make the switch.”

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