Press Release

Pushing back of ban on new petrol and diesel cars sales will be “an attack on industry, climate and consumers”

September 20, 2023

Delay of ban will send shockwaves across industry and planned investments in infrastructure and batteries as well as blowing a massive hole in carbon budgets.

A letter from a group of environment NGOs including Transport & Environment, Campaign for Better Transport and Greenpeace UK have condemned the government’s plans to roll back the 2030 ban on sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles expected to be announced by the Prime Minister this afternoon.

Acknowledging that the phase-out date was a show of genuine international climate leadership, it goes on to say if the sudden abandonment of the policy goes ahead it will send shockwaves across the industries that are delivering critical investments, raw materials and infrastructure for the rollout of electric vehicles. 

For years the automotive, battery and charging infrastructure industries have all been making strategic investments and plans in order to smoothly transition the UK’s vehicle fleet to an electric future. Last-minute changes such as those expected to be announced destablise such plans, exposing key investment decisions to unnecessary chaos and uncertainty.

The 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, and the accompanying zero emissions vehicle mandate, is the biggest carbon cutting measure in the Government’s Net Zero Strategy. The delay to 2035 would blow a massive hole in any serious attempt to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and thanks to the legally-binding nature of the target, emissions savings will need to be found elsewhere.

Claims that the Government was intent on not “bankrupting the British people” for the sake of net zero were also scrutinised in the letter. Electric cars are cheaper to run than petrol and diesel vehicles, upfront costs are expected to fall significantly over the next three to four years, and the fact that most people buy their cars through the second-hand market so most will not be affected by the 2030 ban directly.

The groups end by imploring the government to avoid a historic and monumental mistake by committing to the 2030 phase-out date to provide ample ambition and commitment to help industries to keep their plans intact and retain the UK’s status as a climate leader.

Ralph Palmer, UK electric vehicle and fleets officer at Transport & Environment, said:

“The careless abandonment of such a vital net zero policy exposes a Government with chaos at its heart. Throwing away the 2030 ban is tantamount to pulling the rug from under numerous industries, consumers and our carbon budget. The 2030 date needs to be kept – for the country and for the climate.”


Notes to editors

The full letter can be found HERE.

For further information or for any questions, please reply directly to this email or call Alexander Killeen, UK media and communications officer for T&E, on 07806431577.

  • Ralph Palmer, UK electric vehicle and fleets officer, Matt Finch, UK Policy Manager and Richard Hebditch, UK director, at Transport & Environment are available for comment. Please reply or call 07806431577 for more information.
  • Transport & Environment’s (T&E) vision is a zero-emission mobility system that is affordable and has minimal impacts on our health, climate and environment.

Related Articles

View All