A group of MPs have called on the ban on conventionally-powered vehicles to be brought forward to 2035 at the latest.
In a report, the Science and Technology Committee also lambasted the Government for the reductions in the plug-in car grant last October and questioned why fuel duty has been frozen while Government legislation have allowed rail and bus prices to rise.
If the Government does bring forward the ban the sale of conventionally-powered vehicles from 2040 to 2035, England will still be lagging behind Scotland, which said it wants to omit petrol and diesel vehicles from sale from 2032.
In the near-term, the group added that the Government must also reconsider the fiscal incentives for consumers to purchase both new and used vehicle models with lower emissions.
The group of MPs added that the Government should also work with public services and owners of public land, such as schools and hospitals, “to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle chargepoints, and introduce measures to ensure that chargepoints are interoperable, compatible with a smart energy system, reliable, and provide real-time information on their current functionality.”
Perhaps controversially, the report continued: “In the long-term, widespread personal vehicle ownership therefore does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation. The Government should not aim to achieve emissions reductions simply by replacing existing vehicles with lower-emissions versions.”
“Throughout our inquiry, it was worrying to hear that although the Government may be ambitious when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, it is not putting the policies in place which are needed to achieve those targets,” said Norman Lamb MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee. “We need to see the Government put its words into actions.”
Reacting to the publication of the report, the RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes, said: “RAC research suggests drivers’ dependence on the car is actually growing as they continue to see their own vehicles as the most reliable, comfortable and practical form of travel, something many simply cannot get with public transport at the moment. For more than a decade now drivers have said they would be willing to use their car less if public transport was better, but it remains the case that provision is poor in so many parts of the country. The priority for government must be to support the transition to zero-emission vehicles by prioritising both charging infrastructure and promoting take-up at the point of sale – and this can be done to a certain extent by reversing the decision to cut the plug-in car grant or look at options such as lower VAT on the purchase price of a zero emission vehicle.”