UK to Ban Sales of New Gas and Diesel Cars, Vans From 2030

November 18, 2020 Updated: November 19, 2020

Sales in the United Kingdom of new gasoline- and diesel-powered cars and vans will be banned from 2030, 10 years ahead of the government’s original plan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Nov. 18.

But hybrid cars and vans that can drive a significant distance with no carbon emissions can be sold until 2035.

Johnson said the government will invest 1.3 billion pounds ($1.45 billion) to boost electric vehicle charge points in homes, streets, and on motorways; 582 million pounds ($651 million) in grants to make it cheaper to buy zero or ultra-low emission vehicles; and nearly 500 million pounds ($560 million) in the next four years in development and mass production of electric vehicle batteries.

The government will also begin discussions on phasing out new diesel heavy goods vehicles.

car exhaust
An exhaust emits fumes as a car is driven through Richmond in London on Dec. 2, 2016. (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)

Johnson’s plan was broadly welcomed by industry.

“Success will depend on reassuring consumers that they can afford these new technologies,” auto industry group SMMT said in a statement, adding the new deadline posed an “immense challenge” to the sector.

“It gives a springboard to the huge opportunities for UK-wide investment and green jobs that a true low-carbon economy can bring,” said Josh Hardie, acting director at the Confederation of British Industry.

10-Point Plan

The announcement is a part of a 10-point plan that Johnson said was “a green industrial revolution,” aiming to cut emissions to net zero by 2050, as well as creating and supporting up to 250,000 jobs.

“My Ten Point Plan will create, support, and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050,” Johnson said in a statement.

The government said it would mobilize 12 billion pounds ($13.43 billion) in public funds for the plan and hopes to galvanize three times as much investment from the private sector by 2030.

Other points in the plan include investments in offshore wind, hydrogen, and nuclear power; investment in zero-emission public transport; research projects into zero-emission planes and ships; heat pumps for homes and public buildings; removing emissions deemed harmful from the atmosphere; planting trees; and investing in new “green” technologies.

British Prime Minister Boris leaving 10 Downing Street in London.
Prime Minister Boris leaves 10 Downing Street in London on Nov. 10, 2020. (Matt Dunham/AP Photo)

Johnson, who is grappling with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus crisis, Brexit trade negotiations, and the departure of his most senior adviser, wants to underscore his green credentials as part of what he hopes will be a reset for his government.

“Now is the time to plan for a green recovery with high-skilled jobs that give people the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to make the country cleaner, greener, and more beautiful,” Johnson said in a column published in the Financial Times on Nov. 17.

“This plan can be a global template for delivering net zero emissions in ways that creates jobs and preserve our lifestyles,” Johnson said, outlining his ambition.

The article nodded to the vision he had painted in October of a future Britain “transformed for the better.”

Speaking to virtual audiences at the Conservative Party conference on Oct. 6, Johnson said it wasn’t “enough just to go back to normal” after the pandemic, which he said can be a “trigger for an acceleration of social and economic change.”

Britain in 2019 became the first G-7 country to set in law a net-zero emission target by 2050, which will require wholesale changes in the way Britons travel, use energy, and eat.

Reuters contributed to this report.