A robust package of measures to turbocharge the UK’s progress towards decarbonising transport, has today been unveiled by the Government.
The measures will support the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) as well as the production of sustainable aviation fuel in the UK – continuing the country’s transition towards net zero.
The Government has today launched the £381 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund alongside an additional £15 million for the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS). Taken together the funding will support the installation of tens of thousands of new chargers across the country, increasing EV infrastructure in every area and ensuring the UK’s charging network can support the increasing number of EV drivers and those considering the switch.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Transport is one of the most important sectors for achieving net zero by 2050, and so we must accelerate our efforts to decarbonise how people get from A to B while growing our economy and supporting thousands of green jobs.
“From expanding our charging network to boosting the production of cleaner aviation fuel, today’s announcement is a great stride forwards - offering people more choice on how to stay connected while delivering the carbon reductions needed to achieve net zero.”
The Government has also unveiled its proposals for a world-leading zero emission vehicle mandate which, from next year, will set minimum annual targets for the percentage of new car and van sales that must be zero emission. The proposed mandate makes the UK’s path to zero emission vehicles the fastest in Europe.
The plans support the Government’s commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and from 2035 all new cars and vans must be fully zero emission at the exhaust. Between 2030 and 2034 all new vehicles must be either fully zero emission or be able to drive a significant distance with zero emissions.
The final proposals are being jointly consulted upon by the UK Government, alongside Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and are the single largest carbon saving measure identified in the Government’s Net Zero Strategy.
The measures build on the progress already made in the transition to electric vehicles, with almost 17% of new cars sold last year being zero emission – supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs in the sector and helping the country to reach its net zero targets.
The new measures will support the wide range of manufacturers in the sector by giving them flexibility through a credits-based trading system, enabling them to bank credits in years when they exceed annual targets for use in future years or trade them with other manufacturers who have fallen short. If manufacturers do not meet their yearly targets, they could face possible fines of up to £18,000 for every vehicle they miss their target by.
Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Jesse Norman said: “As today's announcements show, the Government is doing more than ever to help the UK move away from petrol and diesel and towards electric vehicles.
"That means investing in charging infrastructure and giving a clear direction to manufacturers so they can roll out new electric vehicles faster and more efficiently. Overall, the UK is leading the way in decarbonising transport, a sector that is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases.”
Today's announcement provides long-term certainty to industry, increasing the number of zero emission cars available for people to buy and setting a clear direction for operators to accelerate the installation of chargepoints. With a greater proportion of zero emission vehicles on the UK’s roads, more drivers will benefit from lower overall running costs against their petrol and diesel counterparts. This will support a cheaper second-hand EV market, while improving air quality across the country for everyone.
Andrew Wescott, Director of Sustainability & Regulation at Addison Lee, said: “The launch of the ZEV mandate is an important signal to the entire EV market in the UK. We know that more charging infrastructure is required and, if properly implemented, the ZEV mandate will give charge point operators the confidence to invest in the charging network, and fleet operators the ability to more readily shift to fully electric vehicles.
“The current lack of charging infrastructure and high energy prices are challenging the adoption of EVs by fleets and professional drivers. While today marks an important step by Government, it’s critical that charge point operators continue to work with private companies, such as ourselves, and the public sector to rapidly accelerate the rollout of affordable EV charging across the network.”