The Government is expected to announce a new date it proposes to introduce a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars within the next week and a new report has urged ministers to fast-track it to a decade’s time.
The current ban is due to come into force in 2040 but is widely expected to be brought forward as MPs try to force the hand of the Prime Minister.
A new report by Cambridge Econometrics has urged the Government to accelerate the ban to 2030 with claims that it will create more than 30,000 new jobs and provide a £4.2billion boost to the economy.
Ban to be fast-tracked: The PM is expected to announce a new date for the end of sales of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars in the next week following a consultation
Boris Johnson is expected to clarify the date for the ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars on Thursday or in a reports or in the Government’s new future energy strategy published next week, having already shown plenty of support for it to be accelerated to 2035.
However, many Tory MPs are piling on the pressure for the phase-out of polluting vehicles to come even sooner than that.
On Monday, Greenpeace UK called for the deadline to be brought forward to 2030, claiming it would increase employment and see higher levels of economic activity, providing the government with a £1.9billion net increase in revenue in a decade’s time.
This morning, activists from the eco group drove remote-control electric toy cars under the security gates of Downing Street and down towards Number 10 in a demonstration urging the Prime Minister to back a 2030 ban on new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans – though were swiftly intercepted by armed guards.
Greenpeace is putting forward its case for a faster transition to electric vehicles and how it could impact consumer spending, emissions, government revenues, the car industry and the economy as a whole.
Shaving a decade off the current 2040 deadline would have enough of an impact to reduce emissions enough to enable the government to meet its current legally binding climate commitments, the report states.
Greenpeace activists at the gates of Downing Street on Tuesday morning to put pressure on the Prime Minister to fast-track the sales ban for new petrol and diesel cars to 2030
Members of the campaign group attempted to drive electric cars with messages on them under the gates at Downing Street
The remote control cars were swiftly intercepted – and thrown into bins – by armed guards at the gate
Also among the bold statements made in the study were optimistic predictions for increase in jobs the vastly-shortened deadline could spark.
‘Compared to a later 2035 date, moving the ban on sales of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans forward to 2030 would create 32,000 more jobs across society,’ the report said.
It added that these jobs would be created ‘across a range of sectors directly linked to the rapid transition to electric vehicles’.
This includes the energy sector, battery manufacturing, charging infrastructure and the service industries, such as retail, entertainment and leisure.
As for increased economic spending, it says people will have more disposable income due to the ‘lower overall costs of owning and running an electric vehicle’ – though it fails to acknowledge the fact that electric cars are currently substantially more expensive to purchase than equivalent models with petrol and diesel engines.
It also said there will be less demand for imported oil and a great reliance on UK-generated electricity.
The combination of increased employment and public spending from a 2030 transition to new electric vehicles would boost GDP in 2030 by 0.2 per cent – the equivalent to £4.2billion.
The prediction was made after assessing the impact a faster transition to electric vehicles might have on consumer spending, emissions, government revenues, the car industry and the economy as a whole
Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s policy director, said: ‘Now more than ever we need bold government policies that create new jobs and economic growth whilst driving the UK forward on climate action.
‘Here – staring Boris Johnson right in the face – is one that will do just that, while making the UK a world leader in electric vehicle manufacturing. Delivered with the right policies, a 2030 phase out really would be win-win all round.
‘The Government no longer has any excuses. We need a firm commitment to ban new polluting cars and vans by 2030, along with an active industrial strategy to boost manufacturing and support re-skilling, so workers can benefit from new jobs that will be created across the economy.
‘The rewards are there for the taking. It’s time for the Prime Minister to plug in and put electric vehicles on a fast track to 2030.’
The Committee on Climate Change, the government’s independent advisory body, has already urged ministers to adopt an even earlier target of 2030.
That demand was backed by more than 100 Tory MPs earlier this month as part of a plan to ‘build back greener’ after the pandemic.
Banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the next decade would put the UK in line with countries including Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden which have 2030 as their target.
The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, who already owns a Tesla Model 3 electric car, has previously spoken of a possible 2032 deadline.
Reports have suggested that ministers could even choose to adopt a two-tier approach, with a ban on pure petrol and diesel cars set for 2030 and the phasing out of hybrids by 2035.
Transport minister, Grant Shapps, who already owns an electric vehicle, has previously commented on the ban on new petrol and diesel cars to come in 2032
Shapps, pictured here getting out of his Tesla Model 3, earlier this year opened the UK’s largest EV charging hub at a rail station at Hatfield
Mike Hawes, chief executive at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, disagreed with the proposition of a ban in the next decade.
He told This is Money: ‘With more than 864,000 automotive livelihoods dependent on drivers investing in the latest, cleanest vehicles, the single best route to job creation and emission reduction is fleet renewal.
‘More than one in six car models on sale now is zero emission capable, with many more to come. But to fully electrify the market – and safeguard our critical manufacturing base with all the jobs that involves – we will need more than an arbitrary date.
‘It will require a Herculean effort from government, including a truly world-beating package of incentives, massive investment in infrastructure and the creation of competitive investment conditions to generate rather than jeopardise jobs in this critical sector.’
Greenpeace claims that by shifting the ban forward to 2030 would result in 6.5 million more zero emissions vehicles on the road by 2040 than if the deadline was shortened to 2035.
The green campaign group said an earlier ban would need a new ‘active industrial strategy’ and additional support support for workers and policies that ensure delivery and increase consumer confidence.
‘Greenpeace is calling for capital allowances for investment in conversion of assembly lines in order to make a rapid switch viable for manufacturers, and for the government to work with vehicle manufacturers, unions, devolved nations and local authorities to encourage investment in a UK-based Gigafactory’, it said.
It is also backed plans for a zero emissions vehicle mandate to be introduced that sets bindings targets for manufacturers to increase sales of electric vehicles each year leading up to the ban.
However, the report failed to acknowledge the impact an earlier shift to electric cars could have on the National Grid, with many being concerned that it won’t be able to cope under the demand from millions of electric cars charging overnight.
A poll of 17,628 AA members in September found that the impact on the National Grid was one of the three biggest hurdles for drivers when considering a switch to electric cars, with 63 per cent agreeing that it wont be able to cope with the additional strain.
The other two biggest concerns were that electric cars remain too expensive (89 per cent) and charging times for EVs takes too long (72 per cent).
But while drivers fear for the impact on the electricity supply, Graeme Cooper, electric vehicle project director at National Grid, insisted there was capacity to cope with an increased demand for power despite widespread concerns it would buckle under the strain.
He said: ‘About a third of CO2 emissions in the UK come from transport so the government has to really turbo-charge the decarbonisation plans here to get the UK trajectory to meet the net-zero targets.
‘We are confident that a faster transition is possible and we are suitably robust to cope with the forecast uptake in electric vehicles.’
The report comes after Bentley last week became the latest car maker to announce its electric future, claiming it will sell only entirely battery-powered models from 2030.
Other brands, including Ford, Nissan and Renault have in recent weeks also revealed intentions to remove some – or all – diesel-powered cars from their showrooms with immediate effect due to a significant fall in demand for oil burners.