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Ban on new petrol and diesel cars brought forward by five years

Patrick Christys
Oct 1, 2019


The ban on petrol and diesel cars could be brought forward by five years.

The days of millions of cars pumping tonnes of toxic gas into the atmosphere are numbered, as new Government plans could put an end to new petrol and diesel cars being on sale after 2035.

It seems like a very long time ago that Tony Blair told us all to buy diesel cars, doesn't it? To be fair though, that wasn't the only thing he got wrong during his time as Prime Minister!

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It's time to embrace the electric car revolution, let's just hope the cars improve their range because the only thing worse than driving to somewhere like Grimsby would be if you got stranded half way there.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the bar on the sale of new solely internal-combustion-engined vehicles could be brought forward by five years to 2035, in an effort to encourage the take-up of electric models sooner, The Mail reports.

While such moves would be controversial - not least for the motor industry - it would bring Britain closer in-line with other European nations such as Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden, which have bans in place from 2030.

Scotland also intends to phase out new petrol and diesel motors from 2032.

Mr Shapps made the announcement on Monday when addressing the Conservative Party conference.

In a statement that's likely to cause uproar among the millions of car owners in the country, he said the Government will 'look again' at the current 2040 deadline.

Staking the case for the date to be brought forward, he said: 'We must go further to protect our environment and improve our competitive edge.

'As you may know, we've already committed to ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

'However, if we're to become the world-leader in green technology, we must always be looking to expand our ambitions.'

He went on to say that he will push for the Government to 'thoroughly explore the case' for bringing the 2040 deadline forward.

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'The Government's advisory Committee on Climate Change has said 2035 is a date for which we should aim,' he added.

'We will need to test the arguments and work in partnership with industry to examine how to proceed.

'Just as we rejuvenated our automotive sector in the 1980s, we're going to work with our pioneering car sector to help them sell the next generation of vehicles around the world.

'Providing high-skilled jobs, utilising British know-how and ending dependence of fossil fuels.' 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders responded to the statement, suggesting that the government would need to do far more to sweeten the electric-car deal for drivers if they want to encourage them to shift to ultra-low-emission vehicles sooner.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the industry body, told The Times: 'Industry is committed to zero-emission transport for all. However, low and zero-emission vehicles still only make up a fraction of the market underscoring the huge challenge of fast-tracking a shift to zero-emission transport. 

'Ambition must be matched by measures that support industry allowing manufacturers time to invest, innovate and sell competitively. 

'This includes long-term government commitment to incentives and investment in infrastructure to accelerate the uptake of these new technologies.'

Commitment to incentives is certainly something Mr Shapps has failed to provide during his short tenure as transport secretary.

Just last month he said in an interview that the Plug-in Car Grant - which subsidises the price of a new electric car by up to £3,500 - will 'go eventually' as the government explores terminating the incentive. 

His comment was made just weeks after he himself had benefited from the grant, using it to help with the purchase of his new Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle.

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While the grant looks set to be scrapped, the government has at least looked to boost the infrastructure for plug-in cars.

It said last month that it will invest a total of £400million to help bolster the public charging network, with £70million used to fund the installation of 3,000 rapid chargers over the next five years. 

The British government is under immense pressure to introduce measures to help it reach a legally-binding requirement to be carbon neutral by 2050 along with a number of other air pollution targets before then.

Car makers also have scaling CO2 targets for their vehicles ranges set by the European Union as the sector looks to shift to electric and other renewable power sources.

Environmentalists have previously stated that Britain's 2040 ban is unambitious and pointed to other European nations which are imposing the deadline much earlier, such as Norway which has the intention to cull fossil-fuelled vehicles by 2025. 

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