MPs urge 2040 UK ban on sale of new diesel and petrol cars to be brought forward

Published 15 March 2018

Plans to ban sales of new diesel and petrol cars in the UK should happen sooner than the proposed 2040 deadline, urge MPs.

Ministers announced in July 2017 that sales of new diesel and petrol vehicles would be banned from 2040, but a joint committee report has accused the Government of failing to take adequate measures to reduce air pollution.

The MPs said the Government must "bring forward the date by which manufacturers must end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars, in line with more ambitious commitments from around the world."

Germany, India and Holland - who also announced a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered cars in 2017 - all plan to commence these restrictions by 2030. Britain, in comparison, looks to fall a decade behind in terms of taking the necessary steps to halt the current air pollution crisis.

The report called the situation a "national health emergency", which led to 40,000 premature deaths each year and is linked to health problems including asthma, heart disease and even dementia - costing Britain about £20 billion.

"We are concerned that the government is treating air quality as a box-ticking exercise," said Neil Parish, environment committee chair. "Real change will require bold, meaningful action."

The Government's strategy to improve air quality has been successfully challenged several times in the courts by environmental campaigner.

The committees asked the Government to force the automotive industry to put money into a new fund to improve air quality. They also called for a Clean Air Act and a national air quality support programme for councils.

The UK is in breach of a 2008 EU directive for nitrogen dioxide (NOx), which had a compliance deadline of 2010.

However, electric and hybrid vehicle uptake has actually fallen by a third since the start of 2018 - with high prices, anxiety-inducing battery range and a lack of charging infrastructure putting many buyers off the low and zero-emissions vehicles.

Figures show that fewer than 1000 electric cars have been sold since the beginning of the year. Sales could fall further as the Government grant of £4500 could end in March 2018, with no replacement fund yet finalised.

In the Autumn Budget 2017, the Chancellor committed to "electrify 25 per cent of cars in central Government department fleets by 2022." However, currently the Ministry of Justice has just two electric vehicles in its 1482 vehicle fleet, with Defra's fleet using just two electric vehicles.


andrew pain    on 15 March 2018

yet another hare-brained scheme by a bunch of people nicely insulated from the real world. NO infrastructure to support a massive swing to electric, without a similarly massive investment. Who pays? oh yes - you and me.
No battery plants in the UK, so yet more investment. We pay.
No compensation for existing diesel owners. We lose out again.
MPs will jump on any passing bandwagon without a thought for ordinary people. As it ever was....

andrew pain    on 15 March 2018

felt so angry I posted it twice....

Edited by andrew pain on 15/03/2018 at 19:35

   on 16 March 2018

Do these low-information committee MPs understand the implications of what they propose? (the question is purely rhetorical).

TopScot    on 16 March 2018

Never forget - it's people like you that vote for them in the first place!

Dorset123    on 16 March 2018

These were the people that told everyone to buy a diesel. Has any of these MPs sat down and thought about a couple of points :-

1. Where are all the new power stations coming from to power these electric cars.

2. Whats happens with all the batteries when the cars are scrapped. The amount an electric car is worth after just a few years.

3. Has anyone worked out how many electric chargers are going to be required when all vehicles are electric.

Of course the answers are they haven't a clue they have been told by some expects this is the way forward. "The Kings New Clothes" comes to mind !

   on 16 March 2018

Should be a fun time pre "No new Petrol & Diesel only" powered cars day, I see a massive upturn in the second hand car market and an astonishing number of nearly new and pre-registered cars becoming available...or have I got all this wrong?


ZP    on 17 March 2018

The thing is, the market will make this happen anyway. As prices fall and ranges increase many people will happily buy a more reliable, cheaper to run, less complicated electric vehicle. At the moment they're for wealthy early adopters or people whose lifestyle fits the range of a Leaf or a Zoe, but that will change.

Most people are not car enthusiasts - they view their car as an appliance and just want it to work and it's these people who will drive the adoption of EVs.

It will be interesting to see how the govt. taxes these vehicles once they're in widespread use and I wouldn't rule out an increase in VAT on electricity. You know, that luxury product...

Our young people are priced out of education, priced out of home ownership and priced out of car insurance so it's all a bit moot for them anyway. Time to buy a charming pile somewhere sunny in France for retirement I think. Oh.. wait....

Miniman777    on 17 March 2018

Given how the DfT has handled the procurement of new trains with hard seats, no wifi and no tables, I suspect that on this they are out of their depth, coming out with well-received weasel words that some other person has the task of making reality.

Let's not forget that MPs who make these annoucements tend to have a short tenure, and therefore they think short term too - always someone else's problem.

AIUI, we've not enough charging points. Electric cars (Tesla excepted) have a rubbish, almost pointess range, they are beyond the budget of most and can you imagine the chaos at Newport Pagnell services on a bank holiday with queues for the charging points. Such a move has to be phased over a very long term, but no one yet has an answer for dealing with a replacement for diesel-powered trucks.

Greater use of railways can be used for freight but you will need more local terminals and onward delivery by electric van or something - within range capabilities. And forget all this hyperloop nonsense, there are far to many pre-requisites for it to happen, and it wouldnt/couldnt ever have the capacity of a conventional passenger or freight train.

There is a shortage of 'slots' to fit around passenger trains, because the network is so busy. You have a major problem trying to fit slow 75mph freight trains of 775metres long in between 125mph passenger trains (they need to be placed in 'loops'), and while night time for freight is always an option, then your maintenance windows decline - and that's when accidents occur because short cuts are enforced.

There's a lot to do in a short time, and it just needs a change of several Government policies to make it work. Problem is our DfT are too proud to learn from the experience of other countries who can do it better. Knee jerk, and cheep and cheerful, every time in the UK.

daveyjp    on 19 March 2018

The key word:

"end the sale of CONVENTIONAL petrol and diesel cars"

Hybrids will meet the criteria.

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