A group of environmental and aid organisations has spoken out, claiming that the government’s controversial plan to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040 doesn’t go far enough. Instead, they want to see polluting motors shown the crusher by 2030. The group states that bringing the deadline forward by a decade could serve to halve the country’s oil imports.
Such a situation will offer cold comfort to those drivers who are already concerned about junking their cars and upgrade to potentially more pricey, low-emission equivalents by the time the ban is brought in.
Benefits for all?
The report argues that moving the ban’s date forward by ten years will slash pollution and create genuine opportunities for investment in Britain’s infrastructure, as well as cutting down on oil imports by 51% come 2035. Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate and energy at WWF, stated,
“To ensure the UK doesn’t miss out on the jobs and investment opportunity in clean, modern vehicles, the UK should up its ambition. Cleaning up transport and boosting home energy efficiency must be priorities for the UK government in the forthcoming clean growth plan.”
The government is readying itself to publish said plan, which will set out how the UK intends to cut its carbon emissions to meet targets set under EU law. It must be hoping that this time the plan will actually go through, as previous attempts have been met with legal action by environmental campaigners.
Something must change
Research shows that, in 2016, transport made up 40% of the UK’s total energy consumption. Road transportation accounted for three-quarters of that figure. In addition, 40,000 premature deaths per year are linked to nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel and petrol vehicles. However, there are real concerns about how quickly a reduction in our energy consumption demands can be ‘hurried’ along – and if our energy supply infrastructure can take the strain even by the existing 2040 deadline.
The National Grid has already warned that plugging in your electric car outside your home could mean boiling a kettle inside your house will blow a fuse. Such warnings foreshadow how our local and national infrastructure might struggle to cope with a serious spike in energy demand.
Scaling the issues
Many solutions to polluting combustion engines are being touted, including the rollout of huge numbers of charging stations and electric cars that can recharge in mere minutes, not hours. Even so, the change will require project management on a scale rarely seen before in the UK.
Whether the cut-off date remains as 2040 or, as campaigners hope, is brought forward to 2030, serious questions and a seeming lack of a coordinated response still remain a real concern for the most important people in this ongoing process – us, the drivers.
Is the demand to bring the petrol and diesel ban forward the right move for Britain? Or are such plans ignoring the needs and realities of everyday life? Let us know your views below.