Government is not 'anti-car': Grant Shapps assures public amid net zero plans

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    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps reassured motorists that the Government is not wanting to “demonise” drivers. In November last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson brought forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2030.

    Speaking in the House of Commons, Grant Shapps said the ambition of the government was to protect the environment.

    “We want people to have access to cars and indeed in rural areas it is often the only way that people have got to get around, despite obviously wanting to improve bus services and the rest of it.

    “We intend to carry on investment but to make sure that the cars can run without damaging people’s health and the environment, and that makes sense.”

    The Transport Decarbonisation Plan was unveiled in November 2020 and aims to cut transport pollution to help the UK reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

    READ MORE: ‘Action needed’ ahead of 2030 petrol and diesel car ban

    The Shadow Transport Secretary, Jim McMahon, was more accommodating of the plans to eventually end the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles. 

    He said: “With transport now the largest contributor to UK emissions, this should have been the chance for ministers to really set out that ambitious plan, (which) could really lead the way ahead of Cop26.

    “Not warm words or reannouncements, but a real plan supporting aviation and maritime, rail and freight, local public transport alongside active travel.”

    He pointed to the absence of a van scrappage scheme, a “woeful lack” of electrical vehicle charging points, a “reduction of thousands” of bus routes, while adding that at the same time ticket prices “have rocketed”.

    Mr McMahon added: “This climate emergency requires urgent action, actually many years ago, yet after a decade in government I’m afraid they’ve been found wanting. 

    “We were promised an ambitious plan to lead the world ahead of Cop26, if that was a test, then I’m afraid the Government has failed.” 

    The government is hailing its “greenprint” as the world’s first statement of intent to decarbonise all models of domestic transport by 2050.

    A commitment has been made to electrify the entire fleet of Government cars and vans by 2027.

    It hopes the shift to electrification will support tens of thousands of jobs, worth up to £9.7 billion in 2050.

    The Government has also published a regulatory framework, which will require vehicle manufacturers to improve the fuel efficiency of new cars, vans and HGVs.

    The Director of Policy at Logistics UK, Elizabeth de Jong, said the Transport Decarbonisation Plan is the pathway to net zero.

    “Consultation on proposed phase out dates for new diesel HGVs should enable business to move forwards with confidence.

    “With logistics already embracing the need to decarbonise its operations, Logistics UK looks forward to working in partnership with the Government on future action and strategies to realise the net zero ambition together.”

     



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