A Parliamentary committee of MPs has urged the government to bring forward its proposed ban on the sale of new conventional cars and vans to 2035 at the latest, and to outlaw hybrids from the same date.
The Science and Technology Committee’s report into clean growth was highly critical of the government saying it needed to reverse the current policy trend of cut backs and slow progress.
The report identifies ten key areas in which Government policy to support the implementation of low-carbon technology has been delayed, cut back or undermined carbon reductions.
In the field of transport it identified the reduction of the plug-in grant for the lowest-emissions cars in October 2018, and the complete removal for other low-emissions cars.
It also noted that while fuel duty has been frozen for nine years in a row, bus and train fares have been allowed to increase every year over the same period.
In its recommendations, the committee said the government must bring forward the date of its proposed ban on the sales of new ‘conventional’ cars and vans to 2035 at the latest, and ensure that it covers hybrids too.
In the near-term, it urged the Government to reconsider the financial incentives for consumers to purchase both new and used vehicle models with lower emissions.
It also called on the government to work with public services and owners of public land, such as schools and hospitals, to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle chargepoints, and introduce measures to ensure that chargepoints are interoperable, compatible with a smart energy system, reliable, and provide real-time information on their current functionality.
It added: “Although ultra-low emissions vehicles generate very little emissions during use, their manufacture generates substantial emissions. In the long term, widespread personal vehicle ownership therefore does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation. The government should not aim to achieve emissions reductions simply by replacing existing vehicles with lower-emissions versions.”
Norman Lamb MP, chair of the Science and Technology Committee, said: “Throughout our inquiry, it was worrying to hear that although the government may be ambitious when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, it is not putting the policies in place which are needed to achieve those targets. We need to see the Government put its words into actions.
“The government’s own projections suggest that the UK is not currently on track to meet its current emission targets, let alone net zero by 2050.”
“The rate of deployment of several key low-carbon technologies is significantly lower than what is required to meet the Government’s ambitions, and various stakeholders expressed concern at the current and projected rate of progress of the UK’s decarbonisation.
“We heard of cut backs in various programmes and slow progress, which are incompatible with the UK’s two upcoming, legally binding, carbon budgets—this is unacceptable. “