In a recent announcement, Rishi Sunak has decided to push back the ban on new petrol and diesel cars in the UK to 2035. Originally, the ban was set to be implemented by 2030, but the government has extended the deadline by five years.
Delivering a speech from Downing Street, the Prime Minister said he is still committed to reaching net zero by 2050, but the transition can be done in a “fairer and better way”.
This decision comes as a response to concerns raised by car manufacturers and the automotive industry. The industry argued that the original deadline was too ambitious and would require significant investments in electric vehicle infrastructure.
The delay gives car manufacturers more time to transition to electric vehicles and make the necessary adjustments to their production lines.
One of the main reasons behind the government’s push for electric vehicles is to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. The transport sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, and transitioning to electric vehicles is seen as a key solution to tackle this issue.
However, the decision to delay the ban has received mixed reactions. Environmentalists argue that the government is not doing enough to address climate change and that the delay undermines the urgency of the issue. They believe that the UK should be more ambitious and set an earlier deadline to completely phase out petrol and diesel cars.
On the other hand, car manufacturers welcome the extension, as it gives them more time to adapt to the rapidly evolving electric vehicle market. They argue that the original deadline was unrealistic and would have put immense pressure on the industry. The delay allows for a smoother transition, ensuring that car manufacturers can meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.
As part of the government’s plans, there will also be a significant investment in electric vehicle infrastructure. This includes expanding the charging network across the country, making it easier for electric vehicle owners to find charging stations. The government aims to make electric vehicles more accessible and convenient for consumers.
The change in approach has drawn heavy criticism from opposition MPs, environment groups and even some senior Tories.
Labour accused the prime minister of “dancing to the tune” of net zero-sceptic Tories and said the plans would actually add more costs to households while damaging investor confidence.