• February 4, 2020

  • Abby Nuttall

A ban on selling new petrol and diesel has been brought forward by five years to 2035 and has expanded to include hybrid vehicles as well.

Boris Johnson announced the new policy yesterday as part of a launch event for the United Nations Climate Summit (also known as COP26).

The original end date for the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles was 2040 but this was brought forward after experts said this would be too late if the government wanted to achieve its target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050. They gave this advise as they believed that 10 years would not be long enough for all the older, non-electric powered cars to be removed from the road.

Speaking to the crowd gathered at the launch event, about the governments zero carbon target, Mr Johnson said: “we have a responsibility to our planet to lead in this way and to do this.”

Also speaking at the launch event, at London’s Science Museum, was Sir David Attenborough who said it was “encouraging” that it was the year “of action” on climate change rather than just talking about it.

Once the ban comes into place then you will only be able to buy and lease electric or hydrogen powered cars and vans.

The announcement comes just after the COP26’s former president Claire O’Neill wrote a scathing letter accusing Mr Johnson of failing to support her in the role, following her being fired on Friday. In the letter Mrs O’Neil accused Mr Johnson of promising her people and money but failing to deliver either.  

Downing Street has refused to comment on Mrs O’Neill’s letter or the comments made while she was on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.

President of the AA, Edmund King said that the new target would be challenging, adding: “We must question whether we will have a sufficient supply of a full cross-section of zero emissions vehicles in less than 15 years.”

Some are alos concerned about the level of support from the government. The Chief Executive of the BVRLA, Gerry Keaney said: “ To achieve these goals the Government must provide a clear support package through to at least 2025. It must preserve the Plug in Car and Van Grants, maintain a strong set of tax incentives and tackle the huge and often arbitrary costs associated with fleet charging infrastructure.”

Scotland will be hosting the COP26 in Glasgow later this year. Despite, them not have the devolved power to be able to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles the Sottish government has already pledged to phase out the need for them by 2032 through their expansion of the electric charging network and other measures.

The launch today kickstarts a year of climate action across the UK as we build up to the Climate Summit in November.

On the same day as Boris Johnson’s announcements the UK aviation industry has also committed to cut its net carbon emissions to zero by 2050, to tie in with the UK’s overall target.

We will keep you updated with any more developments on the government’s plans for the switch to electric vehicles as they are announced.

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