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MPs could get chance to vote down ZEV mandate as controversial measure hangs in the balance

  • MPs set to be offered vote on much-debated ZEV mandate
  • Move said to be aimed at appeasing angry backbench Tory MPs
  • Department for Transport refuses to commit to 2024 date for policy
  • Labour calls the situation ‘chaos’ and calls for certainty
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Time 9:15 am, August 17, 2023

The future of the government’s ZEV mandate has been thrust into doubt amid suggestions MPs could get the chance to vote down the controversial eco policy.

A report by the i states says that Rishi Sunak is planning a radical shake up in how net zero policy will be passed amid growing unrest among some Tory backbenchers.

According to the report, the Department for Transport, backed by the PM, is set to use a rarely seem ‘affirmative’ procedure, which would require measures to be passed both by the House of Commons and the House of Lords.


This would allow skeptical MPs to register their displeasure and vote against policies, including the controversial ZEV mandate.

The DfT would also be able to veto secondary legislation needed to enact new targets for carmakers.

It comes amid a growing feeling in Tory ranks that ditching eco measures could prove to be a vote winner in next year’s general election.


The party recently won a by-election in Uxbridge, with the victory largely put down to public anger at Labour over the expansion of London’s ultra low emissions zone.

The ZEV mandate will set strict targets which state that at least 22 per cent of the cars manufacturers sell next year have to be electric.

Car makers unable to meet their targets will be fined, with the government proposing a £15,000 penalty for every non-electric car and £18,000 per non-electric van they miss their target by.

When approached by the i, the DfT refused to be drawn on whether the policy would begin next year as currently planned.

A spokesman told the paper: ‘We remain committed to phasing out the purchase of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 – providing certainty to industry, safeguarding jobs and helping UK car manufacturers invest in the future.

‘We continue to engage closely with industry on this transition, and will publish our response to the mandate consultation in due course.’

They later added: ‘The Climate Change Act 2008 requires the zero emission vehicle mandate to be approved by parliament for which an affirmative statutory instrument is the normal procedure.’

It comes after the government came under criticism from automotive industry experts for sending ‘mixed messages‘ in relation to its plans for electric cars.

Last month, ministers refused to rule out a delay to the 2030 ICE vehicle ban before later describing it as ‘immovable’.


In response to how the Conservatives have handled the transition, Labour described the situation as ‘chaos’.

Louise Haigh, shadow secretary of state for transport, said: ‘The real threat to investment in our automotive industry is Conservative chaos and division at a time when the sector is crying out for certainty.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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