The transport secretary has suggested the proposed 2040 petrol car sales ban could be implemented sooner.
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Grant Shapps said: “We must go further to protect our environment and improve our competitive edge. As you may know, we’ve already committed to ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040. However, if we’re to become the world-leader in green technology, we must always be looking to expand our ambitions.
“I’d therefore like to see government look again at the 2040 target, and thoroughly explore the case for bringing this date forward. The government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change has said 2035 is a date for which we should aim. We will need to test the arguments and work in partnership with industry to examine how to proceed.”
His comments follow calls to move the ban forward. The Committee on Climate Change said the government’s strategy would not be enough to meet environmental targets, and suggested moving the ban to 2035.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee suggested moving the ban to 2032, as well as rewording it so hybrid vehicles were incorporated into the ban. That would mean all new cars would have to become fully electric or hydrogen-powered when the ban comes into force.
However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), labelled the committee’s plan “unrealistic”, saying the 2040 ban is already “extremely challenging”. The RAC said a 2032 ban would need government support to make it feasible.