Laws requiring all new vehicles sold in the UK to be zero emission should be brought forward from 2040 to as early as 2030, according to a report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
The move would help the UK cut carbon emissions to nearly zero by 2050, according to the report, which has also called for a substantial investment to improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK.
The CCC says current government plans to require all new cars sold from 2040 onwards to be zero emission – banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars – are too soft.
It believes the rapid development of battery technology means that electric cars will cost the same as combustion-engined machines from around 2024/2025 onwards, making 2030 a realistic target. But it notes that date could be shifted to 2035 if there is a shortage in the materials required to produce batteries.
A 2018 report published by the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee called the government's initial target date for the new legislation "vague and unambitious", and criticised the relative unpreparedeness of Britain's road network for the shift away from conventional fuelling methods.
The move is just one emission cutting initiative in the ‘Net Zero’ report, which also looks at cutting emissions in areas including home heating, aviation, meat production and domestic waste.
Last year, the government confirmed that hybrid vehicles, so long as they were classed as ultra-low emissions-vehicles, would be exempt from the ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles.
The CCC report says that the UK can become a global leader in cutting greenhouse gasses. It says that the tighter target can be achieved at no added cost from previous estimates.
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