The United Kingdom Government has pushed back the deadline for the ban on petrol and diesel cars until 2035, five years later than the previously planned deadline of 2030, adding that the decision was made to ease the transition to electric vehicles and to give families more time to prepare for the upfront cost of Electric Vehicles (EVs).
Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, made this known on Wednesday, in a national broadcast tagged: “Long-term Decision for a Brighter Future”.
According to him, we’re changing our approach to meeting Net Zero to ease the burden on working people and the delay would align the UK with countries like Germany and France.
Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in 2020 that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars would be banned from 2030, five years earlier than previously planned.
Sunak, British Prime Minister, on Wednesday, in his response to the row back on some of the government’s key green policies, said that the climate change commitment should be more “proportionate.”
He said, “We’re changing the way we reach Net Zero by 2050 to ease the burden on working people. Our new approach will be pragmatic, proportionate, and realistic.
“This important thread shows we’re so far ahead of every other country in the world on Net Zero. So how can it be right that British citizens are now being told to sacrifice even more than others? That’s why we’ve set out a new approach to achieving net zero.
“We will still meet our international commitments and hit Net Zero by 2050. Our new approach will embrace with even greater enthusiasm the incredible opportunities of the green industry. This will create hundreds of thousands of good, well-paid jobs right across the country.
“I’m scrapping the proposal for the government to interfere in how many passengers you can have in your car and the idea that we should force you to have 7 different bins in your home. I’m also scrapping the proposal to make you change your diet – and harm British farmers – by taxing meat. And the proposal to create new taxes to discourage flying- I’ve scrapped that too.
“We will never impose unnecessary and heavy-handed measures on you, the British people. We will still meet our international commitments and hit Net Zero by 2050.
“We know the upfront costs for families are still high – so to give us more time to prepare, we’re easing the transition to electric vehicles on our roads and heat pumps in our homes. That means you’ll still be able to buy new petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035, in line with countries like Germany and France.
“It also means we’ll never force anyone to rip out their old boiler for an expensive heat pump, which for a family living in a terraced house in Darlington, could cost up to £10,000.
“This country is proud to be a world leader in reaching Net Zero by 2050. Because of the progress we have already made, the UK’s share of global emissions is now less than 1%.
“In fact, we are a world leader in cutting emissions, surpassing the targets most countries have set for 2030 including Australia, Canada, Japan and the US.
“We have over delivered on all our previous targets to date. Given this progress, reaching our targets does not need to come unnecessarily at the expense of people facing higher costs – and that’s why today we can ease the burden on working families.
“We will continue to meet our international agreements, including the critical promises in Paris and Glasgow to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, but our new approach to Net Zero is pragmatic, proportionate and realistic; accountable to the British public; meet our Net Zero commitment; supporting British families.
“I care about reaching Net Zero by 2050 but on the current path, we risk losing the consent of the British people. No one has yet had the courage to look people in the eye and explain what’s really involved. That’s wrong, and it changes today with a new approach to meeting Net Zero,” Sunak said.
The UK Government’s decision has been met with criticism from car manufacturers and energy suppliers, who believe that the delay undermines the country’s net-zero policies.
Chris Norbury, the CEO of E.ON UK, criticized the government’s plan to row back on net-zero policies, including the planned phase-out of gas boilers, as a “misstep on many levels.”
Car industry leaders said the pushback was “hugely retrograde” and it could create anxiety given steps already taken by the sector to meet existing targets.
Lisa Brankin, Chairman of Ford UK, said the move to relax the 2030 ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans would undermine the steps the US car manufacturer had taken to prepare for the change.
Jürgen Maier, a former chief executive of Siemens UK, said the move was not “just chop and change” of policies but “chaos,” accusing the government of failing in its industrial policy.
He said the move would make the UK far less attractive to international investors and would lead to large industrial companies delaying their investment decisions.