The British government has presented a plan to decarbonise the transport sector. It includes the goal to stop the sale of all road vehicles with combustion engines by 2040. The end date for passenger cars was already set for 2030 – now there is also a roadmap for commercial vehicles.
Last autumn, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the government would bring forward the ban on the sale of new passenger cars with combustion engines by five years to 2030. Now comes the announcement that the sale of new vehicles from 3.5 to 26 tonnes with internal combustion engines will also be stopped by 2035. For internal combustion trucks over 26 tonnes, the hammer is to fall in 2040 – “or earlier if a faster changeover seems possible”.
In addition, the British government is bringing forward the target of making its own fleet of around 40,000 cars and vans emission-free by three years to 2027. The government has not yet elaborated further on this.
The decarbonisation plan now presented goes beyond road transport and also includes targets for other modes of transport: by 2040, the British government envisages net-zero aviation, and rail transport is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
Transport Minister Grant Shapps described decarbonisation as a technocratic process. “It’s about how we make sure that transport shapes quality of life and the economy in ways that are good,” Shapps said. “It’s not about stopping people doing things: it’s about doing the same things differently. We will still fly on holiday, but in more efficient aircraft, using sustainable fuel. We will still drive, but increasingly in zero-emission cars.”
While the British government is strongly committed to zero-emission transport in the future, it had further slashed electric car subsidies in March, for example. Since then, not only is 2,500 instead of 3,000 pounds per BEV available but the price ceiling for eligible vehicles has also been adjusted. Since then, only cars that cost a maximum of 35,000 pounds are subsidised instead of the previous limit of 50,000 pounds.
“The Transport decarbonisation plan is just the start – we will need continued efforts and collaboration to deliver its ambitious commitments, which will ultimately create sustainable economic growth through healthier communities as we build back greener,” Shapps said.