With just months to go until major climate summit COP26, the UK government has published its Transport Decarbonisation Plan, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today.
The plan provides a ‘greenprint’ to cut emissions from seas and skies, roads and railways, setting out a pathway for the whole transport sector to reach net zero by 2050.
As part of its vision, the Government is today announcing its intention to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040, subject to consultation – combined with the 2035 phase out date for polluting cars and vans. The consultation proposes a 2035 phase out date for vehicles weighing from 3.5-26 tonnes and 2040 for vehicles weighing more than 26 tonnes – or earlier if a faster transition seems feasible.
With billions of pounds in investment already pledged, including £2 billion in cycling and walking and £2.8 billion to support industry and motorists to make the switch to cleaner vehicles, the Transport Decarbonisation Plan also sets out how the Government will improve public transport and increase support for active travel to make them the natural first choice for all who can take them – creating a net zero rail network by 2050, ensuring net zero domestic aviation emissions by 2040, and leading the transition to green shipping.
“Transport is not just how you get around. It is something that fundamentally shapes our towns, cities, and countryside, our living standards and our health. It can shape all those things for good, or for bad,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
“Decarbonisation is not just some technocratic process. It’s about how we make sure that transport shapes quality of life and the economy in ways that are good.
“The Transport Decarbonisation Plan is just the start – we will need continued efforts and collaboration to deliver its ambitious commitments, which will ultimately create sustainable economic growth through healthier communities as we build back greener.”
The commitment comes as the Government publishes a Green Paper setting out the regulatory framework requiring vehicle manufacturers to improve the fuel efficiency of new cars, vans, and HGVs, enabling the country to meet the phase out dates. This includes consulting on the possible introduction of a new phased industry mandate for zero emission vehicles.
The Government is also today publishing a 2035 Delivery Plan which brings together all of the measures for decarbonising cars and vans, from across Government, into a single document. It outlines the key timelines, milestones and how progress towards the commitment to deliver mass ownership of zero emission cars and vans will be monitored.
This follows recent investments from car manufacturer Nissan to produce its new-generation electric in Sunderland, alongside Envision’s new Gigafactory, as well as Stellantis’s investment in Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port manufacturing plant to transform the site for a new era in electric vehicle manufacturing.
Nissan’s new ‘gigafactory’ will enable its Sunderland plant to hugely increase EV production.
“This is the first zero emissions transport mandate for a major economy and is a great opportunity ahead of COP26 to show the UK’s commitment to clean transport and clean air,” said Graeme Cooper, Head of Future Markets at National Grid.
“The Government has already committed significant investment for EV charging infrastructure, and today’s announcement will be a further boost, giving the industry and consumers clarity and confidence for the road ahead, not just for cars but other forms of transport too, including heavy goods vehicles.”
The Government is today also announcing that it has brought forward the target date for the whole central Government fleet of 40,000 cars and vans to be fully zero emission by 2027, three years earlier than previously planned.
It is also publishing its response to the Electric Vehicle Smart Charging consultation, committing to laying legislation later this year to ensure that all new private EV charge points meet smart charging standards, which can save consumers money on their energy bills.
“Alongside the 2035 Delivery Plan, the government’s decision to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles by 2040 is a very necessary step on the road towards net zero,” said Melanie Shufflebotham, COO & Co-founder of Zap-Map.
“EV sales in the UK continue to reflect high and growing consumer demand for zero-emission vehicles, with pure-electric vehicles passing 10% market share for the first time last month, not to mention the Tesla Model 3 topping the sales chart. It’s therefore essential that the government supports the public momentum behind this shift.
“Just as importantly, charge point infrastructure across the UK continues to grow at pace, and we look forward to taking in the government’s response to the Electric Vehicle Smart Charging consultation. This will be critical to the mass adoption of EVs as they increasingly enter the public eye.”