News | Published February 12 2020

Ban on petrol and diesel cars could start in 2032

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, has announced that the UK’s ban on the sales of new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars could begin in 2032. 

This is three years earlier than the government’s revised target of 2035 and eight years before its original deadline of 2040.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Shapps said the ban would certainly come into force by 2035 but said it could by as early as 2032. The decision will be made after a consultation is carried out on the new date.

While the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have not directly commented on the possibility of the ban being enforced from 2032, last week, when the government announced they would bring the original date forward to 2035, Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief, described the move as “extremely concerning.”

He said: “Manufacturers are fully invested in a zero emissions future…However, with current demand for this still expensive technology just a fraction of sales, it’s clear that accelerating an already very challenging ambition will take more than industry investment.”

The government’s announcement comes ahead of COP 26, a United Nations climate summit, which will be hosted in Glasgow in November. The purpose of this summit is to assess progress on tackling climate change.

One of the reasons that the ban may be moved forward is to ensure older conventional cars can be taken off the roads more swiftly. 

This comes after experts warned that if the ban came into force in 2040, older cars would likely remain on the roads ten years later, compromising the UK’s ability to meet its net zero  carbon target by 2050.

Under the terms of the ban, only electric or hydrogen-powered cars will be available.

In January 2020, of the 149,279 cars sold in the UK, 4,054 were battery electric vehicles. Plug-in hybrids accounted for 4,788 of these car sales. Across 2019, 37,850 electric vehicles were registered in the UK, 1.6 per cent of the total market. 

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Authored by

George Salmon
Political Editor
February 12 2020

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