Three labour MPs have written to Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport asking him to bring the Government’s planned phase-out of the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles forward from 2040 to 2030.
Kerry McCarthy MP, Matt Pennycook MP and Alan Whitehead MP said that they believed this was both ‘non-negotiable and essential’ in the fight against climate change and a huge economic opportunity to help the economy recovery from the pandemic.
Writing about this for Politics Home, Ms McCarthy, who is Labour’s Shadow Green Transport Minister said: “Not only could this significantly reduce the 90% of transport emissions attributable to road transport, but could also help to prevent many of the up to 36,000 yearly deaths linked to air pollution. Estimates also suggest that growing our green manufacturing capacity could boost automotive employment up from 170,000 jobs today to as many as 220,000 by 2040. Now is the time to show global leadership on decarbonising our transport and manufacturing sectors
“With the UK set to host the COP26 UN climate conference in November next year, now is the time to show global leadership on decarbonising our transport and manufacturing sectors. A 2030 target would be a bold signal that we intend to lead the way on tackling climate change.”
However, she said, it was not good enough to ‘simply adopt a new target’. “The Government must pair a more ambitious phase-out date with measures that address the current low take-up of Zero Emission Vehicles in the UK (only 1% of the 30 million cars on British roads are currently electric).”
She said: “Amid the chaos of the last few months, you could be forgiven for forgetting that we are still in the midst of a climate emergency. Despite the dramatic falls in air pollution and car usage seen at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, they are now steadily returning to pre-pandemic levels.
“The main contributor to UK emissions and air pollution is now our transport sector. Despite progress on transport decarbonisation under the last Labour Government, the Tories have failed to act. Transport emissions have been largely stagnant over the course of the past decade, and still accounted for 24% of UK emissions in 2019.”
Ms McCarthy also called for more support for the car manufacturing sector and its workers.