PM to announce measure amid raft of new environmental policies, reports say
Boris Johnson is understood to be planning to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars within a decade, with reports that the ban will be brought forward by five years.
It follows the prime minister moving the cut-off date from 2040 to 2035 in February.
Johnson is expected to announce the measure amid a raft of new environmental policies next week, according to a report in the Financial Times, which attributes the news to industry and Whitehall sources.
The government hopes the policy will energise the market for electric cars in the UK and help the country achieve its climate targets, including reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050.
Scientists, academics and campaigners have urged governments and businesses to be more ambitious, calling on them to work to “restore the climate” to as safe a level as possible.
Environmental activists signed a letter on Friday, stating: “The climate crisis is here now. No matter how quickly we reach zero emissions, the terrible impacts of the climate crisis will not just go away … As such, no matter how quickly it is done, solely cutting emissions is not enough.”
Despite rising popularity, with demand more than doubling over the last year, electric cars still only make up around 7% of new vehicles bought in the UK last month, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show.
The organisation has previously called for the government to commit to significant long-term incentives for electric vehicle purchase and to set fixed targets on charging infrastructure, arguing that higher prices and concerns about charging are keeping sales down.
The government is expected to provide around £500m funding for charging infrastructure from next year, according to the newspaper’s report.
Johnson has been reportedly putting together a 10-point plan to jump-start the low-carbon economy and set the country on track to meet the target of net zero emissions by 2050, amid international pressure to produce a detailed plan as host of the next UN summit on the climate crisis, Cop26, which was postponed to next November.
Meanwhile, following Joe Biden’s electoral victory in the US, the Labour party has been pressing the government to intensify Britain’s efforts to tackle the climate emergency by bringing forward a multibillion pound “green recovery” plan.
The news also follows criticism that the UK is not adequately funding its efforts to fight the climate crisis, despite the prime minister’s promises to put environment at centre of post-Covid strategy.
Research by the IPPR thinktank found the government is investing only 12% of the funds needed to tackle the climate emergency and the growing threat to nature.