A BAN on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be brought forward to 2035 and will include hybrids for the first time, it has been announced.
The plans were outlined as the prime minister launches key UN climate talks in the UK. The COP26 talks will take place in Glasgow in November – ‘COP26’ stands for ‘the 26th Conference of the Parties’ – and Boris Johnson will make a speech today setting out Britain’s stall as a leader on tackling climate change.
He will urge other countries to follow the UK’s lead in setting targets to cut their emissions to net zero – with major cuts to greenhouse gases and any remaining pollution offset by measures such as planting trees.
As part of the UK’s moves to meet its legal goal to reach net zero by 2050, the government will consult on bringing forward a planned ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 to 2035 – and earlier if feasible.
The ban, which government advisers the Committee on Climate Change have called for by as early as 2030, will also include hybrid vehicles for the first time.
At an event to be attended by Sir David Attenborough, Johnson will call for international efforts to reach net zero as early as possible through investment in cleaner technology and protection of natural habitat – which will also help reverse losses in wildlife.
Johnson said: ‘Hosting COP26 is an important opportunity for the UK and nations across the globe to step up in the fight against climate change.
‘As we set out our plans to hit our ambitious 2050 net zero target across this year, so we shall urge others to join us in pledging net zero emissions.
‘There can be no greater responsibility than protecting our planet, and no mission that a Global Britain is prouder to serve.
‘2020 must be the year we turn the tide on global warming – it will be the year when we choose a cleaner, greener future for all.’
AA president Edmund King said the new target on car sales was incredibly challenging.
He added: ‘We must question whether we will have a sufficient supply of a full cross-section of zero-emissions vehicles in less than 15 years.
‘We will also need a package of grants coupled with a comprehensive charging infrastructure at homes and in towns, cities, motorways and rural locations.
‘At the very least, the government should take up the AA demand to cut VAT on new EVs to boost sales and make vehicles more affordable to those on lower incomes.’
He also raised concerns that hybrids would be excluded from sale under the plans.
Today’s event will also kick off a year of climate action across the UK, the government said.
The UN climate talks in November are the most important since the Paris Agreement to curb global warming was secured in 2015.
Countries are expected to deliver more ambitious domestic plans for cutting greenhouse gases by 2030 – as current proposals aren’t enough to prevent dangerous temperature rises.
Last week, former clean growth minister Claire Perry O’Neill, who stood down as an MP in the general election, was sacked as president of the talks by the government, which said it will be a ministerial role.
Nick Mabey, chief executive of climate change think tank E3G, said the UK’s presidency had got off to a bumpy start with the decision to dismiss her.