MPs urge ministers to bring forward ban on new petrol and diesel cars

Posted On: 
19th October 2018

Ministers have been urged by MPs to ensure there are no new petrol or diesel cars allowed onto the road by 2032.

Electric cars stand next to charging stations
PA Images

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee criticised the target, announced last year, of new vehicles having to be “effectively” zero-emission by 2040 as “vague and unambitious”.

The cross-party group of MPs said the proposals as they stand were at odds with ministers' pledge to ensure that almost every car and van in the UK is a zero-emission vehicle by 2050.

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The Government conceded in July that petrol and diesel hybrids will still be able to be sold when the legislation comes in to force, prompting fierce criticism from environmental campaigners.

Chair of the Committee, Rachel Reeves, said: “Electric vehicles (EV) are increasingly popular, and present exciting opportunities for the UK to develop an internationally competitive EV industry and reduce our carbon emissions.

“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.

“The IPCC report was clear on the need to encourage changes in consumer behaviour, including increasing the switch to electric vehicles, to help decarbonise our economy.

“But the UK Government’s targets on zero-emissions vehicles are unambitious and vague, giving little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric cars.

"If we are serious about being EV world leaders, the Government must come forward with a target of new sales of cars and vans to be zero emission by 2032."

The committee also warns that the car industry cannot expected to adapt to the new rules when ministers and officials themselves cannot say how the target should be interpreted.

It also finds that the poor provision of charging points for electric vehicles is one of the greatest barriers to growing the British EV market.

They criticised “damaging and unfair” messaging on electric vehicles as holding back companies from providing such facilities, given they would struggle to measure demand.

And they said that it should be ministers taking the lead on ensuring charging points are placed all across the country, while giving councils the technical and financial support they need to see them rolled-out.

Ms Reeves added: "Our EV charging infrastructure is simply not fit for purpose. We cannot expect consumers to overcome ‘range anxiety’ and switch to electric vehicles if they cannot be confident of finding convenient, reliable points to regularly charge their cars."

"The Government cannot simply will the ends and leave local government, or private companies, to deliver the means."

The Department for Business has been approached for comment.