Rishi Sunak

As speculated in the past 24 hours, Prime Minister Rishi this afternoon confirmed he is 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. 

In response Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers’ Association, said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement today 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.

“Our members are committed to the decarbonisation of transport and are installing charging points to support an uptake of electric vehicles.

”We have called on the Government to provide support and direction concerning the critical issues of connecting to the grid and delivery of the required electricity to support the infrastructure. The PRA has consistently argued that the ban on new ICE vehicles by 2030 is a date without a plan and we hope the movement of the date to 2035 will allow us to continue to work with the Government on a sensible strategy to decarbonise transport.”

Balmer also expressed his thoughts on alternative strategies: “The PRA agrees with the Transport Select Committee’s findings in their document ’Fuelling the future, motive power and connectivity’ which stated the Government have put all of their eggs in one basket with 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.”

John Wilmot, CEO, car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco, said: “Today’s announcement won’t have come as a huge surprise within the industry. The 2030 target was always amibitious, but it’s become more evident in the past 12 months that it’s simply not achievable with battery production unable to meet the vehicle unit production required to hit the deadline.

“While this is going to be an unpopular decision amongst many groups, it’s better that the Government accepts 2030 is unrealistic and calls it six years early, rather than leaving it to the last minute and creating a full blown panic.

“Consumers aren’t stupid. The cost of electric cars is too high and the public charging infrastructure rollout is well behind schedule. This has inevitably had an impact on people choosing to switch to electric cars now, with demand showing signs of stalling in recent months. On our platform we have seen EV sales drop from 31% of all sales in Q1 2023, to 23% in Q3 2023.

“The Government has given itself some breathing space, but it still has a monumental challenge on its hands to convince the British public to embrace green motoring.”