Friday, January 19, 2018
A new report has warned that three-fifths of new cars and vans will need to be electric by 2030, if the government is to succeed in meeting legal emissions targets.
The warning follows Theresa May’s launch of the UK Government’s 25-year plan to protect the environment.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the UK’s official climate watchdog, said that initiatives to cut greenhouse gasses “need to be firmed up as a matter of urgency” if they are to reach the standard for both 2020 and 2030, as set under UK law.
The CCC’s report found that while the Government’s ‘Clean Growth Strategy’, published in October 2017, is a big improvement, it doesn’t offer detailed enough policies and the UK needs to “step up” measures to cut emissions.
Lord Deben, CCC Chairman, said that although the Clean Growth Strategy saw a change in tone by the Government on the issue, more must be done.
“The strategy doesn’t deliver enough action to meet emissions targets in the 2020s and 2030s…all departments now need to look at their contribution towards cutting emissions – including the Department for Transport…the time has come for us to remind industry in many of these areas they have a real part to play.”
Lord Deben added that drivers should be offered more advice on using electric cars, such as where and how to charge them, not just reassurance over the frequency of charging points.
While Government plans are currently working towards 30-70% of new cars, as well as 40% of vans, being ultra-low emission by 2030, the CCC is pushing for 60% of vehicles.
As part of measures to see the sale of conventional diesel and petrol cars phased out by 2040, the committee also proposed that grants should be available for purchasing electric cars until their prices fall in line with non-electric models. Currently less that 5% of new car sales are alternatively fuelled.
Lord Deben advised that electric car dealers should be comprehensively educated on the clean air strategy and the topic of lowering emissions if they are to continue to increase sales at the required rate.
“If you’re going to sell an electric car your dealers have got to understand these things, so training dealers is essential. The Government’s policies and proposals will need to be firmed up as a matter of urgency – and supplemented with additional measures if the UK is to deliver on its legal commitments and secure its position as an international climate change leader.”
Richard Black, from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, agreed, “We’re not on track to meet emissions goals that kick in in just five years’ time.” With little time for ministers to hold enquiries and consultations, Black suggested quick-win policies such as cutting company car tax for electric vehicles would need to be put in place first.