Jonathan Reynolds

A Labour government would reinstate the 2030 ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles, it was revealed this week at the party’s annual conference, by shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds.

In Labour’s plan for the automotive sector ‘Driving a Growing Economy’ Reynolds expresses concern for car manufacturers trying to keep up with changing government policy.

He said: “The decision to water down the 2030 phase out of petrol and diesel vehicles is a huge setback for manufacturers, who will have spent enormous amounts of money and time on the basis of these targets.

“We believe that the 2030 deadline is the right policy which industry was confident of hitting. Pushing back the date of the phase out will raise costs for British families by billions of pounds because electric vehicles have cheaper lifetime costs than petrol cars, and by 2030 are expected to have lower upfront costs.

“We will oppose the Government’s plans to water it down in parliament and, through our industrial strategy, a future Labour government would work with industry to proceed with hitting those targets.”

The announcement by prime minister Rishi Sunak on September 20 to row back on pledges on green policies - including putting back the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035 – was welcomed by the fuel retail sector.

In response Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers’ Association, said at the time: “The Prime Minister’s announcement reflects the reality of the delays in meeting infrastructure targets. The widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the UK can’t be realistically achieved without the corresponding charging network to accommodate it.

”Delays in infrastructure targets and questions around alternative methods of tax to compensate for the loss of fuel duty revenue and VAT have cast a shadow over the 2030 deadline.”

He also criticised the government’s focus on only one solution – electric vehicles: ”Instead of gambling our hopes for successful decarbonisation away on unrealistic mandates, they should instead be focusing on more pragmatic options, such as a hybrid approach that would see the adoption of sustainable fuels.”