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UK Government releases its Transport Decarbonisation Plan

The UK Government has released its Transport Decarbonisation Plan which includes a world-leading pledge to consult on the end of sale of all new, non-zero emission road vehicles by 2040 at the latest.

As a major step towards that, alongside the plan the Government has published a consultation on phasing out the sale of all new non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040. HGVs are the second largest source of domestic transport carbon emissions.

The plan comes with a green paper, which will set out options for a new regulatory framework requiring vehicle manufacturers to improve the efficiency of new road vehicles.

To underpin the petrol and diesel phase out dates and help achieve them, the Government has also published a 2035 delivery plan today. This plan brings together all committed funding streams and measures for decarbonising cars and vans, from across government, into a single document. It outlines the key timelines, milestones and how the Government will monitor progress towards its commitment to deliver mass ownership of zero emission cars and vans.

The Government will consult on regulatory options, including zero emission vehicle mandates, to deliver petrol and diesel phase out dates for new vehicles.

To deliver the plan to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030 the Government is consulting on the design of a new domestic regulatory regime for road vehicles CO2 emissions, including the possible introduction of a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate, as recommended by the Climate Change Committee.

A ZEV Mandate establishes sales percentage targets that must be met by vehicle manufacturers, requiring to them to sell a certain proportion of zero emission vehicles. Manufacturers earn credits for selling ZEVs, rather than the targets being monitored directly, so manufacturers can meet their target either by earning credits through the sale of ZEVs, or from buying excess credits from manufacturers that have overperformed against their own target.

Sales of all new non-zero emission road vehicles will be phased out by 2040.

• Cars and vans (under 3.5t): all new cars and vans required to have significant zero emissions capability from 2030 and 100% zero emissions at the tailpipe from 2035.

• Heavy Goods Vehicles (above 3.5t): sales of all new medium sized trucks (up to and including 26t) to be zero emissions from 2035, with the heaviest (>above 26t) zero emission by 2040

• Powered two wheelers: all new motorcycles and scooters to be fully zero emissions at the tailpipe from 2035

• The Government is consulting on dates to end the sale of new non-zero emission buses

• The Government will consult on a phase out date for the sale of new non-zero emission coaches

To support drivers and industry make the transition to zero emission vehicles, the Government has put in place a package of measures that includes:

• £582 million for plug-in car, van, taxi, and motorcycle grants until 2022-23, reducing ZEV purchase prices for consumers.

• Green number plates for zero emission vehicles were introduced in December 2020. The plates increase visibility of the rapidly growing number of clean vehicles on our roads and help local authorities deliver new policies, such as zero emission zones.

• Favourable company car tax rates for zero emission cars out to 2025, zero emission cars and electric vans pay no vehicle excise duty, and a nil rate of tax is applied to zero emission vans within the van benefit charge.

The Government is introducing a range of regulatory and other measures to ensure the charging network meets users’ needs:

• To support motorists making longer journeys in EVs, the Government’s £950 million Rapid Charging Fund will invest in upgrading grid capacity at service areas across motorways and A-roads. By 2035 the Government expects to support the roll-out of 6,000 ultra-rapid chargepoints across the strategic road network.

• For those households unable to charge at their home, the On-Street Residential Scheme supports local authorities in installing EV infrastructure on-street and in public car parks. The scheme has been enhanced in response to local authority feedback, to increase the funding available per chargepoint and remove the maximum project size cap. The Government has committed £20 million for 2021/22.

• A new £90 million Local EV Infrastructure Fund, opening in 2022, will support the rollout of larger on-street charging schemes and rapid charging hubs across England, meeting a broader range of consumer needs.

• Given the crucial role that local authorities must play in supporting the roll-out of charging, and to navigate the complexities involved, the Government will publish an EV infrastructure guide for local authorities later this year.

• For properties with dedicated off-street parking, the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme will provide funding towards the cost of a chargepoint and its installation. From April 2022, the Government will shift the focus to supporting leaseholders, renters and those living in flats. The Workplace Charging Scheme will provide funding for EV chargepoints at workplaces and is being extended to small and medium sized enterprises and charities.

• The process and cost of connecting charging infrastructure to the electricity network can be a major barrier to roll-out. The Government is working with Ofgem and others to make getting new connections as timely, efficient, and affordable as possible. Through its ‘Access and Forward-Looking Charges Review’, Ofgem is consulting on whether more, or all, of the costs associated with a new connection could be socialised across energy bill payers, reducing the costs for the connecting customers.

• The Government plans to regulate later this year for all new-build residential and non-residential buildings with an associated parking space to have a chargepoint.

• The Government also plans to regulate this year on measures to improve the consumer experience of public charging. The Government will open up public chargepoint data; improve the reliability of the network; streamline the payment methods offered to drivers; and increase pricing transparency.

• The Government will regulate later this year to ensure charging infrastructure is smart, to help delay or reduce the need for new electricity generation or network infrastructure investment, reducing costs for all bill payers. The Government’s plans for EV infrastructure are set out in more detail in the 2035 Delivery Plan and, later this year, it will publish an EV infrastructure strategy, setting out its vision for infrastructure rollout, and roles for the public and private sectors in achieving it. This will ensure there is sufficient infrastructure provided at the pace required, and that consumers’ needs are met.

The decarbonisation plan will also increase the level of ambition for the whole central government fleet, moving the target date for the 40,000-vehicle fleet to be fully zero emission forward to 2027.

The Government has also published its response to the electric vehicle smart charging consultation. The response commits to laying legislation later this year to ensure that all private EV chargepoints meet smart charging standards. The transition to EVs is central to government’s net zero commitment but will also increase demand on the electricity system. Smart charging can help mitigate these impacts. This legislation will play an important role in driving the uptake of smart technology, which can save consumers money on their energy bills.

Transport is the largest contributor to UK greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), with road transport alone accounting for almost a quarter of our total emissions in 2019.

The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP says that the plan will create economic growth, new industries and jobs and help us Build Back Better and Greener.

Download the full Transport Decarbonisation Plan here