Earlier this week the government published its ‘greenprint’ transport decarbonisation plan for the next three decades. It outlines a pathway for the whole transport sector to reach net-zero by 2050.
While creating jobs and helping towards a cleaner future, it hasn’t been without a reaction from the industry. Below we have a range of thoughts and responses from across the motoring sector:
BRITISH VEHICLE RENTAL AND LEASING ASSOCIATION
British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) members own and operate more than four million vehicles. They buy around 50 percent of all new vehicles sold each year and expect to have around 900,000 battery-electric cars and vans on fleet by 2025.
Gerry Keaney, BVRLA chief executive, said: “The plans being launched today show the Government’s determination to deliver on its zero emission transport targets. The ambitious timescales involved in the phase-outs for the sale of polluting cars, vans and trucks leave little room for error.
“It is vital that the policymakers continue to engage with a wide cross-section of road users to understand the risks, challenges and opportunities that are being thrown up by this swift transition.
“Today’s ‘greenprint’ provides some essential clarity and certainty for road users, but there are still major questions that need answering, including what longer-term plans the Government has for motoring taxation.”
Volta Trucks, a leading and disruptive fully-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and services provider, has issued a guarded welcome to the publication of the government’s decarbonisation plan. It has called for a greater level of ambition to tackle the climate and air quality emergency faced by the environment.
Essa Al-Saleh, Volta Trucks CEO, said: “The ban on internal combustion engine trucks by 2040 is nearly 20 years away, and today’s climate emergency cannot wait. Trucks account for less than two percent of road vehicles but 22 percent of CO2 emissions from road transport, and the relative share of truck emissions is certain to increase as emissions from passenger cars are driven downwards by the surge in the sales of electric cars.
“It’s therefore disappointing that the government hasn’t been as ambitious as the French authorities, for example, who have banned diesel engine trucks from the streets of Paris and other large city centres by the end of 2023. This type of progressive legislation, twinned with incentives, is what’s needed to accelerate the migration to zero emission large commercial vehicles.”
SOCIETY OF MOTOR MANUFACTURERS AND TRADERS
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is one of the largest and most influential trade associations in the UK. Its resources, reputation and unrivalled automotive data place it at the heart of the UK automotive industry.
SMMT is the voice of the UK motor industry, supporting and promoting its members’ interests, at home and abroad, to the government, stakeholders and the media.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The industry is already delivering with an ever-expanding range of electrified vehicles which are being bought in ever greater numbers. However, achieving net zero cannot rely solely on the automotive sector.
“Massive investment, not least in infrastructure, is necessary and must be delivered at accelerated pace. Crucially, we must maintain a strong and competitive market that ensures the shift to electrified vehicles is affordable for all.”
Zemo is a not-for-profit collaborative that brings together government, industry, non-government organisations, experts and the widest range of key stakeholders. They have the shared vision of accelerating transport to zero emissions. They help to shape government policy, regulation and initiatives, influence business strategy and provide information and advice to those working to reduce emissions, improve air quality and combat climate change through cleaner mobility.
Andy Eastlake, Zemo Partnership chief executive, said: “Transport is perhaps one of the most emotive and complex areas of our lives and society, but zero tailpipe emission transport technology is already here.
“How we make this the default everywhere while also reducing overall demand for energy and other resources is the real challenge. It’s therefore encouraging to see that the plan considers fiscal, behavioural, digital and other policy options as the exciting technology and energy revolutions gather pace.
“How effectively we can work collaboratively across sectors to bring all these together will be a true test of success of this plan.
“The Plan is wide-ranging and detailed, encompassing a plethora of approaches and opening a range of questions and consultations about transport decarbonisation.”
CLIMATE CHANGE COMMITTEE
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Its purpose is to advise the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and to report to parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
Mike Thompson, the CCC’s chief economist, said: “The overall ambition, including phasing out the sale of diesel trucks by 2040 and net zero aviation by 2050, looks in line with our recommendations. Meeting net zero will require action on demand for transport as well as its supply.
“As ever, the devil will be in the detail and we look forward to scrutinising the government’s proposals fully and carefully while we await delivery of other key roadmaps on heating, hydrogen, food, biomass, the treasury’s net zero review and the government’s overall net zero strategy.”
Zap-Map is the UK’s leading app and digital platform for electric vehicle drivers to search for charge points, plan longer journeys, pay on participating networks and share updates with other electric car drivers.
Melanie Shufflebotham, COO and co-founder of Zap-Map, said: “The government’s decision to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles by 2040 is a very necessary step on the road towards net zero.
“EV sales in the UK continue to reflect high and growing consumer demand for zero-emission vehicles, with pure-electric vehicles passing 10 percent market share for the first time last month. It’s therefore essential that the government supports the public momentum behind this shift.
“Just as importantly, charge point infrastructure across the UK continues to grow at pace, and we look forward to taking in the government’s response to the Electric Vehicle Smart Charging consultation. This will be critical to the mass adoption of EVs as they increasingly enter the public eye.”