18 Aug 20

UK will uphold EU CO2 regulations

The UK plans to copy and paste European Union regulations on average carbon dioxide targets for cars once the country fully leaves the EU at the end of this year.

This plan means nothing will change for carmakers on 1 January 2021, when the transition period for Brexit ends.

When a small majority of British voters voted to leave the EU in 2016, they did so in large part on promises of more sovereignty which would allow Westminster to introduce its own regulations, deviating from those imposed by Brussels. However, car manufacturers have since made it clear they do not wish to adhere to a double set of standards – one for the UK, one for the European mainland.

Another obstacle to introducing British regulations is to be found in Northern Ireland, which continues to follow EU single market rules under the terms of the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

“The government really didn’t have a choice but to keep the regulations,” David Bailey, Professor of Business Economics at the UK’s Birmingham Business School, told Automotive News Europe. “Manufacturers don’t want a different set of regulations, and having the same set makes sense to encourage to them sell electric cars in the UK.”

Carmakers will still face fines for every gram of CO2 they exceed the 95 grams per kilometre limit, but it will amount to £86 instead of €95 – respecting the official exchange rate to the penny.

The average CO2 emissions will still be taken from sales across the EU and not just the UK. “The UK fleet is heavier than the EU27’s and therefore moving from the EU fleet average to a UK specific value would immediately make regulatory targets more demanding for all manufacturers,” the government’s consultation document read.

As the British economy is closely linked to the EU economy, it can be expected that more EU regulations will be copy-pasted into UK legislation as the emotions of the Brexit debate make way for more realism.

Image copyright: Shutterstock

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck