Thursday 17 September 2020 / 10:06 AM Climate Change / Matthew Pennycook / Transport

Labour calls on government to phase out sales of petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles by 2030

Labour is today calling for the government to end the sale of new petrol, diesel, and hybrid cars and vans by 2030, to create jobs, cut carbon emissions, and reduce air pollution.

Writing to the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Labour’s Shadow Ministers for Climate Change, Transport, and Energy are calling on him to set out an ambitious plan for a rapid transition to zero-emissions vehicles or risk further damage to both the UK’s car industry and our credibility on the global stage as hosts of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year.

Labour’s calls for a 2030 date has significant backing: in June, the independent Committee on Climate Change made clear that the phase-out date must be brought forward to “2032 at the latest” if the UK is to meet its legally-binding 2050 net-zero emissions target.

Just last month, a third of Conservative Party MPs called for the phase-out date to be brought forward to 2030.

By taking steps to ensure the UK is at the forefront of efforts to phase out polluting vehicles, the Government would secure not only significant environmental and public health benefits but would create new high-skilled jobs in towns and cities across the country.

Studies suggest that manufacturing batteries to replace internal combustion engines, for instance, would boost direct employment in the automotive industry from about 170,000 jobs today to as many as 220,000 by 2040. In contrast, a failure to accelerate the development and rollout of new technologies risks exacerbating the severe challenges already facing the UK car industry.

The UK risks falling behind while other nations race ahead towards ending the use of fossil fuel cars. California has introduced a Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate, which requires manufacturers to produce increasing percentages of sustainable vehicles year on year. Meanwhile Germany and France have responded to the economic challenges of the pandemic by significantly increasing their electric vehicle subsidies and, in the latter case, introducing a means-tested green scrappage scheme.

Matthew Pennycook MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Climate Change 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.”