The government has announced that it is consulting on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 to 2035, or earlier if feasible, as well as including hybrids for the first time. This reflects the Independent Committee on Climate Change’s advice on what is needed for the UK to end its contribution to climate change by 2050. The proposals relate to new cars and vans – owners of existing petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans will still be able to use these vehicles and buy and sell them on the used market. As a result, people will be able to buy only electric or hydrogen cars and vans.

Experts said the original target of 2040 would be too late if the UK wanted to achieve its target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050. About a third of CO2 emissions in the UK come from transport. Emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) – which come from car exhausts – regularly exceed safe levels in many cities. Diesel vehicles produce the overwhelming majority of roadside NOx gases so removing petrol and diesel vehicles will help bring air quality within the guidelines set out by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Banning new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars will not be enough on its own. The government will also need to tackle the emissions coming from energy generation. These are almost as high as from transport and come from things such as industry and people’s homes. Encouraging the sale of electric cars will raise the demand so a solution is needed to increase carbon neutral electricity to facilitate such a change without having a negative impact on the environment.

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles is seeking views from the public on:

  • the feasibility of the phase out date;
  • the definition of what should be phased out;
  • barriers that may prevent achieving this;
  • the impact of these ambitions on the different sectors of industry and society as a whole.

In addition, the consultation is seeking input on what measures are required by government and others to achieve the earlier phase out date.

The consultation closes on 31st July 2020. We are formulating our response to the consultation and would welcome your feedback to incorporate into this. To have your say, please email the compliance team at or to discuss this further please call Melanie Kendall-Reid on 01252 87 87 22.

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