Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

UK delaying ban on new petrol and diesel cars

The UK is to delay the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars until 2035.

The ban was due to take effect in 2030, but British prime minister Rishi Sunak said last night that a five-year delay would give businesses “more time to prepare”.

He also said motorists would still be allowed to buy secondhand diesel and petrol cars after that date, and that this would align the UK’s approach with countries across Europe, Canada and many states in the US.

However, the announcement has been met with mixed emotions. Steve Nash, chief executive of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) said that it “significantly under-estimates the hard work and commitment those in the automotive sector have already shown to meet the 2030 target”.

“There’s now a serious risk that businesses and individuals will take their foot off the pedal and the great success the IMI has had in engaging the industry to commit to investment in EV skills will lose momentum,” he added. “It is absolutely crucial that the shift to 2035 is not seen as a ‘free pass’ to delay investment in [electric vehicle] infrastructure and training.”

The National Body Repair Association (NBRA) has also expressed its concerns over the decision to postpone the ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 to 2035, claiming it could have “economic and ecological repercussions”.

“The path to achieving net-zero emissions is undeniably urgent, but it is crucial to navigate this journey without damaging the very businesses that are key to making this transition successful,” said Wayne Mason-Drust, NBRA board member. “Our members, many of whom have already invested substantially in preparing for the 2030 deadline, now face uncertainty and potential financial setbacks.”

“By shifting the goalposts, the government puts at risk the investments made by businesses in our sector who took early steps to adapt to a greener automotive landscape. These businesses now face an extended period before they can see a return on their investment, raising questions about the economic viability of their proactive efforts,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Independent Garage Association (IGA) in the UK has welcomed the decision, saying the delay will allow for much-needed time to address the challenges related to EV infrastructure and the affordability of EVs, particularly in the face of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Its chief executive Stuart James said: “The announcement yesterday by the prime minister represents a reality check that the infrastructure required to support wholesale EV adoption in the UK is currently lagging behind where it would need to be, had the 2030 ban remained in place.

“In the current challenging economic climate, to impose the high cost of new electric vehicles on businesses and consumers, would be a step too far, so pushing back the ban date 2035 is the right thing to do.”