Gove speaking

Levelling up secretary Michael Gove

The government will not change its plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030, according to levelling up secretary Michael Gove.

There had been speculation the government might relax some of its net zero policies after an attack on the Ultra Low Emission Zone extension was credited with helping the Conservative Party win a by election last week.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said earlier this week that he was not prepared to “hassle” people with additional costs associated with net zero, while Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchell said he could not “prophesise” future decision-making on the government’s 2030 electric vehicle target.

On Tuesday Gove told the BBC that the government would “ease off” on its “strict deadline” of making sure privately rented properties meet minimum energy efficiency standards by 2028.

However, asked on Times Radio if banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars was an immovable target in Britain, Gove said: “Yes”.

But on the question of targets to install heat pumps in new homes, he said it was important new homes meet net zero standards but the government needed to be wary of the cost of some proposals to decarbonise existing housing.

Responding to the speculation about the 2030 ban, Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder and COO of EV charger mapping service Zapmap, commented: “The country’s future climate commitments should not be a political football, especially when the signs of global heating are so visible today.

“Road transport accounts for around 20% of all our emissions, and electric vehicles are a proven technology solution.

“The 2030 ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars has given business the confidence to invest. An entire industry is working towards meeting this deadline and it is well within reach.

“In spite of the recent surge in misinformation, the facts are that charging infrastructure is rolling out at pace, electric sales are strong despite a challenging economy, and existing EV drivers are happier with their vehicles than those still driving petrol.

“The government must be like a handbrake-less electric car, and not roll back.”