Reflecting on the UK government’s green policy delays

Earlier this week, the UK’s Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced a delay in the nation’s green pledges

The delays disrupted numerous industries, plans and investments, and cast widespread doubt over the UK’s future prospects. 

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Among the most pressing concerns is the decision to delay the ban on selling new internal combustion engine vehicles. The falter will see the ban move from 2030 to 2035. 

According to Nick Woolley, CEO of

“Rishi Sunak has condemned the UK public to release a minimum of 10 million additional metric tonnes of carbon into our atmosphere”

DriveElectric, a leading EV leasing company, posit that delaying the ban will only end up costing regular families more money. They state that the running costs of EVs are already lower than those of petrol and diesel cars in most cases. Additionally, DriveElectric projects EV purchase prices to match traditional cars by the middle of this decade. 

Furthermore, major international investments in the UK’s green sector are now facing uncertainty. The automotive industry, as with any industry, needs security and stability to advice its spending. Not only did the 2030 deadline provide certainty, but it propelled the UK to the forefront of European, and global, decarbonisation. Now, the country expects to wait and rely on investments made in other nations to provide a leg-up. 

Of course, the right people to listen to are those who know the UK’s emobility sector best. As such, we’d urge you to read the comments from some of the key players and innovators from across the UK’s EV sector.

Nick Woolley, CEO,

“Today, Rishi Sunak has condemned the UK public to release a minimum of 10 million additional metric tonnes of carbon into our atmosphere with the announcement of the ICE ban pushback 

“Scrapping the 2030 target puts more money in the coffers of oil companies and increases costs for the motoring public. To decarbonise, we need to accelerate the transition everywhere, all at once – extending the life of fossil fuels in vehicles by 5 years is completely the wrong approach.

“54% of the UK public want to switch to an electric car before the 2030 ban – so  ‘people’s consent’ is not the issue, nor is the grid.

“Yesterday the grid ran with a new green record, with only 14.5% of generation coming from gas, and we’ll soon see gas disappear completely and the grid becoming 100% green. So why are we not seizing this opportunity to fuel transport with green electrons?

“The great thing about EVs is they help us accelerate faster, integrating more renewable energy – as they can be used as flexible demand, matching the intermittencies of wind and solar. Powering EVs with wind and solar is also cheap, saving  drivers hundreds of pounds a year, and if employed at scale, would help save an additional 2 million metric tonnes of carbon being released into the atmosphere.

“We need the Government to keep firm on their commitments, and get behind accelerating the transition, everywhere. Banning new sales by 2030 isn’t fast enough, and pushing it to 2035 is embarrassing. I want my kids to grow up in a society without air pollution, and where we are tempering the effects of climate change. Humanity is amazing when singularly focussed on one goal: we should make that goal decarbonising as rapidly as possible, not prolonging the interests of dangerous oil and gas companies.

“Focus on providing fair access to those worse off so that EVs don’t just benefit the rich. Let’s make sure everyone can connect to the grid together, not just those who are ready first.”

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director of Auto Trader:

“The ZEV mandate will be a stretch for the majority of manufacturers to achieve in its current form, as many are significantly behind where the government is telling them they need to be in terms of EV sales. Therefore, to close the gap and meet electric vehicle sales targets, car manufacturers will be forced to look at ways to stimulate consumer demand and it’s likely price will need to play a big part in this. Electric vehicles carry a hefty price premium, so if prices come down, they’ll suddenly become a far more attractive proposition for a greater pool of car buyers.

“Both industry and consumer confidence has been dented by recent announcements and so clarity and government cooperation will be vital as the next steps play out.”

Mike Nakrani, CEO, VEV: 

“The decision to row back from the now three-years-old commitment to the 2030 timeline is the opposite of what the auto industry needs to play its part in the race to net zero. It is confusing an already confused situation, where the facts have been lost to politics and spin. 

At VEV we believe the existing 2030 and 2035 targets were sensible and provided a phased approach to reaching net zero. Hybrid vehicles would still be sold post-2030 in any event, which makes this latest policy u-turn even more illogical and only adds further confusion.    

Manufacturers, fleet operators and all those in supporting roles across infrastructure and related services have gathered at the starting line to make this journey to net zero. What we need is certainty and support from Government to accelerate the race, not political prevarication.  

To push the UK net zero journey plan a further five years down the track will only giving rise to inaction and procrastination. This is not conducive to building a better Britain or environment.”

Justin Lunny, founder and CEO, Everrati: 

“The scaling back of the commitment to the 2030 ban on new ICE cars in the UK is the opposite of what the automotive industry and consumers need right now.  

Ever since the deadline was set in 2020, awareness and desire to go electric has increased rapidly across all sectors – and, indeed, demand for our products has accelerated year-on-year as forward-thinking consumers add luxury vehicles to their garages that are both sustainable and futureproofed.

But by rowing back, the UK Government has not only pushed our net zero plan a further five years down the road, but risked fostering procrastination in a burgeoning market. It is also disappointing as the UK is home to so many innovative companies who have invested in developing the latest in electrification technology which is not only better for the planet but genuinely advances the art of the automobile for both today’s generation and tomorrow’s. 

We have a huge opportunity to lead on zero emissions mobility, but the UK government has sent completely the wrong message, both domestically and globally.”

Mike Potter, Managing Director of DriveElectric: 

“Electric cars make sense financially because they last longer, need less maintenance, cost significantly less to fuel, and can cut electricity bills in half by using vehicle-to-grid technology. Such benefits also make EVs a much better buy for the second-hand market.”

The next steps in the Conservative government’s plans are yet to be unveiled beyond the vagaries of Sunak’s public address. We expect to have more clarity and, we hope, more confidence in the coming months. For now though, the consensus of the UK’s automotive and emobility sectors is unanimously negative. The delay is costly, heavily pollutant, and indicative of a political flippancy we cannot afford. Although, the potential still exists for these emobility pioneers and automotive giants to continue on their paths to 2030 all the same. After all, losing the UK government’s support may not be as impactful as you’d think.

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