‘Clarity’ needed on 2040 vehicle target

A leading committee on climate change policy has called for greater clarity on how the government plans to move towards ending the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.

The Committee on Climate Change, which is chaired by Lord Deben a former Conservative Environment Secretary, has questioned the policy measures underpinning the commitment, which has been touted as a potential boost to the UK’s air quality.

Government has set a goal to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel only cars by 2040

According to the Committee ‘new commitments’ from government will be required to give confidence to the market that the proposal can be delivered, in particular extensions to grant schemes for plug-in cars and vans, and further incentives for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.

The comments came in a report published today (17 January) on the Clean Growth Strategy, published in October, described by government as an ‘ambitious blueprint for Britain’s low carbon future’.

In its analysis of the policy proposals, which includes the 2040 vehicle pledge, the Committee on Climate Change has analysed the potential uptake of ultra low emission cars and vans and claims that ‘further ambition’ is needed from government in order to meet the target.


The report notes: “Given that it takes around 15 years for the stock of cars and vans to turn over, it may be necessary for the sales of petrol and diesel vehicles to end by 2035. A high uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) by 2030 (i.e. at least 60% of new sales) is therefore required in order to keep open the possibility of 100% of new sales by 2035 and be on track to achieve this by 2040, as the government has committed.”

It goes on to state that ‘new commitments’ will be required to give confidence that the proposal can be delivered, as well as steps to address ‘anxiety’ from consumers over the availability of charging points for cars through investment in further charging infrastructure.


The report adds: “Charging infrastructure must be installed to address issues of range and charging anxiety and underpin market confidence to deliver these rapid uptake trajectories. Charging infrastructure investments should cover both rapid charging provision for long-distance journeys on motorways and major roads (where at least an additional 700 chargers are required by 2030), as well as local charging for topping up vehicles on streets, at retail locations and in car parks (which will require an additional 25,000 chargers).”

Commenting on the findings of the report, Committee on Climate Change Chairman, Lord Deben, said: “The Clean Growth Strategy is ambitious in its aims to build a thriving low-carbon Britain but ambitions alone are not enough. As it stands, the Strategy does not deliver enough action to meet the UK’s emissions targets in the 2020s and 2030s. The government’s policies and proposals will need to be firmed up as a matter of urgency — and supplemented with additional measures — if the UK is to deliver on its legal commitments and secure its position as an international climate change leader.”

Related Links
CCC Assessment of the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy


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