Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the UK’s Net Zero Strategy announced today and specifically confirmation the Government will proceed with mandates requiring: the car industry to sell increasing numbers of electric vehicles; and airlines to buy sustainable aviation fuels. Both will stimulate investment in green technologies, creating high quality jobs for the future.
In transport, the Net Zero Strategy largely reproduces the Transport Decarbonisation Plan published in July. But, in addition, confirms the UK will proceed with a zero emissions vehicles (ZEV) mandate for cars and vans requiring manufacturers to sell increasing numbers of battery electric vehicles. T&E estimates that the ZEV mandate will save around 25% more CO2 by 2035 than using the regulation preferred in the EU, which also encourages sales of hybrid cars. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars produce much higher emissions under real-world conditions compared to testing conditions. T&E called on the EU to set 2035, at the latest, as the end date for selling polluting cars, as the EU Commission has proposed.
The ZEV Mandate also provides clarity on how many new electric vehicles must be sold in the future, allowing better planning for the transition such as the installation of charge points and training of mechanics to service and repair electric vehicles.
Greg Archer, UK director of T&E said: “The ZEV Mandate provides the certainty industry needs about how many electric vehicles will be on the UK’s roads in coming years. It enables much better planning for the shift and much lower CO2 emissions. In parts of the UK, nearly 1 in 4 new cars sold is now battery electric. The revolution is underway and these proposals will help to ensure there are only sales of only zero emission vehicles by 2035, allowing businesses to recruit and train the green workforce of the future.”
T&E also welcomed the proposed backstop CO2 regulation that will ensure conventional new cars do not become less efficient as a result of the introduction of the ZEV Mandate. This will ensure there is no incentive for carmakers to sell more hybrids and plug-in hybrids that cannibalise the market for battery electric cars whilst offering only modest CO2 savings. T&E also welcomes the additional funding for local charging targeted at gaps in the network.
The government also announced it will proceed with a Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) Mandate so that by 2030, 10% of the aviation fuel used should be low or zero emission. SAF is considered the best technology to reduce airline emissions. But T&E warned the devil would be in the details and the Government must ensure SAF is only manufactured from genuine wastes and green hydrogen. It is calling for the mandate to include a minimum share of e-kerosene made by extracting CO2 from the air (Direct Air Capture) and green hydrogen. This is the fuel that is best environmentally, whilst having the least risk of unintended consequences, including locking in aviation fuel production to waste streams that will be reduced and eliminated in coming years.
Matt Finch, policy manager at T&E added: “Capturing CO2 from the air and producing green hydrogen are key technologies to help tackle the climate emergency and together make zero emission aviation fuel. A SAF Mandate requires fuel suppliers and airlines to invest in these and other new technologies whilst the £180 million grants encourage those developments to happen in the UK. This is good for tackling the climate emergency and creating green UK businesses and jobs.”