By Debbie Holden 22 Oct 2018 5 min read

MPs call for ban on petrol and diesel car sales by 2032

MPs have said that a ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars should be brought forward by eight years to 2032.


Government plans for a 2040 ban on fossil-fuel powered cars and vans across Britain were unambitious and did not show leadership within the UK, especially as Scotland has set itself an earlier target, the business, energy and industrial strategy committee said.


According to The Guardian, the group said that although the UK is renowned as a world leader on electric cars, that status was at risk due to the unambitious targets set to ban petrol and diesel cars.


The committee’s chairwoman, Rachel Reeves MP, said the government’s targets gave “little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric cars, and that “zero should mean zero”. Reeves called for the government to bring forward a “clear, precise target for new sales of cars and vans to be truly zero emission by 2032”.


“If we want to ensure we have jobs in the car industry in the UK in 20 years time we need to be at the forefront of the electric car revolution,” she told the Guardian.


The Labour MP also criticised the government for sending inconsistent signals, such as cutting grants last week for electric vehicles, a move she said should be reversed.


Chief executive of the car manufacturers’ group the SMMT Mike Hawes, said 2040 was “already challenging” so 2032 would be “nigh-on impossible”. “Zero emission vehicles make up just 0.6% of the market, meaning consumer appetite would have to grow by some 17,000% in just over a decade,” he said. The energy industry, by contrast, welcomed the committee’s call to bring the ban forward.


Transport has become the UK’s biggest source of carbon emissions, overtaking the energy sector which has seen a phase-out of coal and expansion of renewable sources. Conventional cars are also the main cause of the illegal levels of air pollution afflicting dozens of UK cities.


The select committee said that this had to change, and that the charging infrastructure for electric cars was not fit for purpose.


Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said he understood the need for wanting to bring the targeted date forward, but said to achieve that it “would have to be matched with bold and decisive action from the government”.


The Department for Transport said its green car strategy was one of the most comprehensive in the world. A statement said it was consulting on legislation to make all new homes “electric vehicle ready”.


“We want between 50% and 70% of new car sales to be ultra low emission by 2030, and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040,” a spokeswoman said.


“And we also outlined measures to bring forward a major uplift in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, paving the way for the widespread adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles.”