Petrol and diesel cars should be banned eight years earlier than planned, MPs have said.
The Government’s plan for phasing out purely fuel driven vehicles by 2040 is “unambitious and vague,” according to a cross-party commons business select committee.
MPs warn that not enough is being done to encourage the take up of electric vehicles, despite claims that the UK is leading the way in electric technology.
The business, energy and industrial strategy committee claims too few roadside chargers have been rolled out. It also criticises the lack of financial incentives to help motorists make the switch from cheaper petrol and diesel driven cars to their more expensive counterparts. The report follows a decision last week to cut existing £4,500 grants for electric cars by a quarter and abolish them altogether for plug-in hybrids - although this did not affect taxi incentives. Rachel Reeves, the committee chairwoman, said: “The government’s targets on zero-emission vehicles are unambitious and vague, giving little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric cars. If we are serious about being world leaders, the government must come forward with a target of new sales of cars and vans to be zero emission by 2032.” She added that Britain’s roadside charging network was “simply not fit for purpose.” Slashing the plug-in car grant was a “perverse way to encourage drivers to move to non-polluting cars,” the committee said. Electric vehicles made up just 1.7% of total UK car and van sales compared with 6% in Sweden and 39% in Norway, the report says. The Government wants to phase out “conventional” petrol and diesel cars by 2040 and require all new vehicles to be zero emission capable (ZEC). But the plans have been dubbed unambitious by green groups, which believe that far from being a world leader, it will be lagging behind many other nations. Norway is setting the pace for the roll- out of green vehicles and aims to phase out new diesel and petrol models by 2025, while China, India, the Netherlands, Austria and the Republic of Ireland have a 2030 deadline. The Japanese car giant, Nissan, told the committee that the 2040 target would establish Britain as a “second tier” country in the race for electric vehicles. The report recommends that Westminster adopts a target set out by the Scottish government to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2032. The Department for Transport said: “We want between 50% and 70% of new car sales to be ultra-low emission by 2030, and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040.” Edmund King, president of the AA, said that drivers are put off by mixed messages from Government and it was highly unlikely that the UK would be prepared for a ban of “petrol and diesel cars in just 14 years’ time.”