Government announces transport decarbonisation package

The Government’s announced what it calls a “robust” package of measures to “turbocharge the UK’s progress towards decarbonising transport”.

The measures are designed to support the shift to electric vehicles as well as the production of sustainable aviation fuel in the UK – continuing the country’s transition towards net zero.

The Government has launched the £381 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund alongside an additional £15 million for the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme. 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 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. It says this 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 Government adds that 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.”

The Government belives the 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.

Tanya Sinclair, Senior Director, Public Policy, Europe at ChargePoint, commented:  “At ChargePoint, we welcome this announcement and the certainty it brings to all leading charging industry players. An ambitious ZEV mandate in the UK will guarantee numbers of EVs on the road from 2024, and therefore provides a clear signal to infrastructure investors to scale up charge point roll out. Having the right charging infrastructure in place to meet future EV demand will support the growth of the charging sector and thousands of highly skilled jobs across the UK. We look forward to continuing to work with the Government on a robust ZEV mandate, introduced as quickly as possible following the consultation period.”

Reacting, RAC electric vehicles spokesman Simon Williams said: “Extra funding for charging infrastructure is welcome as we know around a third of all homes in the UK don’t have a driveway for a chargepoint to be installed, which makes switching to an electric vehicle less straightforward. With the Government imposing a mandate for zero-emission vehicle sales on manufacturers, it seems logical that this should be matched by targets for local authorities and charging networks to install a certain number of chargepoints, to meet demand from the expected increase in electric vehicles on the road.”

(Picture – Yay Images)


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