25 Jul 23

Speculation about UK Government U-turn on 2030 ICE ban

Speculation about UK Government U-turn on 2030 ICE ban

Comments made by ministers, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, yesterday have put in doubt the UK government’s commitment to a 2030 end to the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles. 

There has been no official announcement, but UK Prime Minister Sunak told reporters yesterday that progress towards net zero would be done in a “proportionate and pragmatic way”. 

I’m cognizant that we’re living through a time when inflation is high, and that’s having an impact on households’ and families’ bills.

“I don’t want to do anything to add to that; I want to make it easier.

“Yes, we’re going to make progress towards net zero, but we’re going to do it in a proportionate and pragmatic way that doesn’t unnecessarily give people more hassle and more costs in their lives.”

His comments have caused speculation that perhaps the government is backtracking on the 10-point plan to tackle climate change in November 2020, when Boris Johnson’s Government brought forward the ICE ban (initially set for 2040) by ten years. 

Uncertainty as to whether the 2030 ban will remain

Before Sunak’s comment, foreign office minister Andrew Mitchell told BBC Radio 4 about the ban: “I’m afraid I can’t prophesy for the future. I’m saying that it is in place and it remains in place.”

But he told Times Radio: “I think the important thing is to wait for any announcement from the government.” thus suggesting there would be one.

As recently as March this year, the UK Government reiterated its commitment to the 2030 deadline. Still, Conservative MPs are putting pressure on the Prime Minister to do something that will win votes in the next election since it has fared poorly in recent bi-elections and faced criticism over the expansion of the Ultra-low Emission Zone to all London boroughs as of 29th August 2023. 

The comments have led to speculation regarding a U-turn on the ban, plus uncertainty and anger within the automotive sector. Philip Nothard, Insight Director, Cox Automotive, told AMonline: “While some will welcome a prospective delay, others will find the idea abhorrent - from an environmental and commercial point of view.

“I imagine there will be considerable anger from many OEMs at the prospect of any change, especially if it’s coming from the cynical perspective of attracting votes.”

So far, there has been no official announcement from the Government, but we will keep you up-to-date if there is one. 

Image: shutterstock_1433617739.Alena Veasey

Authored by: Alison Pittaway