The sales ban of all new cars with an internal combustion engine, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, could now be banned from as early as 2030 according to new reports.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to officially announce the move this autumn as part of a wider, post-pandemic economic recovery plan.
The Guardian cites sources as saying the plans were set to be publicised this week, but a recent rise in coronavirus cases has pushed it back.
Proposals to end sales of petrol and diesel-fuelled cars by 2040 was first announced in 2018 as part of the government’s strategy to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
However, transport secretary Grant Shapps said earlier this year that such action could be taken by 2035 or even as early as 2032.
Labour shadow ministers Matthew Pennycook said: “2030 is an ambitious but achievable date by which to phase out the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles, one that would give a new lease of life to the UK car industry whilst combatting climate breakdown and cleaning up the air that dangerously pollutes so many of our towns and cities.
“But as well as accelerating the phase-out, the government must also set out a credible plan to get there – one that backs the low-carbon jobs and industries of the future and ensures that workers and communities are properly supported in the transition to a fairer and cleaner economy.
“It’s time for ministers to seize this opportunity as part of a world-leading green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, creating good jobs across the country and generating real momentum for next year’s COP26 climate summit.”
But Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), slammed the idea of banning the internal combustion engine by 2030, warning neither industry, nor charging infrastructure or consumers, would be ready for that date.
He said: “The range of electrified vehicles on the market today is ever increasing but we need a fully-funded strategy that mandates a massive investment in infrastructure, helps all consumers to make the switch and supports a competitive UK industry.”
Reports of a 2030 ban come after sales of electric and hybrid cars overlook diesel models between April and June this year, with 33,000 new EVs registered, versus 29,900 diesel cars.
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