Cars running on only on fossil fuels will be banned by the United Kingdom in 2030 in a move that is aimed at phasing out polluting vehicles before any other major economy in the world while also supporting the recovery of the country form pandemic.
The sale of new gasoline and diesel cars and vans would be stopped in the country five years before the government had planned previously, the UK government said in a statement on Wednesday. That would make the UK the first country among the G7 countries top remove carbon fuelled cars from its streets. The government will also allow the sale of hybrid vehicles until 2035.
This move is viewed as a part of a broader “green industrial revolution” framework that was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and includes £12 billion ($16 billion) in government investment. It is the hope of the government that more than three times that amount would be chipped in by the private sector.
“Although this year has taken a very different path to the one we expected, the United Kingdom is looking to the future and seizing the opportunity to build back greener,” Johnson said in a statement. “The recovery of our planet and of our economies can and must go hand-in-hand.”
In order to make the process of transition to clean energy transportation faster, an amount of £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) will be spent on electric vehicle charging points by the government while another £500 million ($664 million) will be expended for development and production of batteries for electric cars. And in order to make zero and ultra-low emission vehicles cheaper for people to buy, the government also plans to give a total of £582 million ($773 million) in subsidies to buyers.
But the British auto industry could face a problem because of the more aggressive deadline because the industry has been struggling for a number of years in uncertainty over the exit of the UK from the European Union as well as the economic impact of the Cvoid-19 pandemic. There has been a dramatic slump in production and the industry has said that if there is no agreement on trade with the European Union prior to the formal exit of the UK from the bloc at the beginning of the new year, it would cost the industry £47 billion ($62.5 billion) over a period of the next five years.
“We share government’s ambition for leadership in decarbonizing road transport and are committed to the journey,” Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said in a statement. “Manufacturers have invested billions to deliver vehicles that are already helping thousands of drivers switch to zero, but this new deadline … sets an immense challenge.”
The new deadline for phasing out of petroleum powered cars by set by the UK is among the most aggressive in the world. For example, with a much smaller economy than Britain and empowered with a significant head start in transforming to clean energy, Norway has set a deadline of 2025 for stopping all new passenger cars and vans sold that do not have zero-emission standards.
Much more work needs to be done in the United Kingdom, Hawes said.
“Success will depend on reassuring consumers that they can afford these new technologies, that they will deliver their mobility needs and, critically, that they can recharge as easily as they refuel. For that, we look to others to step up and match our commitment,” he said. “We will now work with government on the detail of this plan, which must be delivered at pace to achieve a rapid transition.”
(Adapted from CNN.com)