A strategy for a greener future

21 October 2021 #Uncategorised

This week we saw publication of the much heralded Government’s ‘Build Back Greener’, its long awaited Net Zero Strategy, setting out a long-term plan for a transition over the next three decades.

This document contains a variety of policies and proposals for keeping the UK on track to a fully decarbonised economy in 2050. The strategy addresses the whole of UK plc, but there are some key sections on the automotive sector.

One of these is the introduction of a Zero Emission Vehicle mandate. The exact details of this will be subject to further consultation, including the continuation of the tailpipe CO2 emissions regulation “as a backstop” for new non-zero emission cars and vans until 100% of new sales are zero emission.

The devil really will be in the detail. If constructed appropriately, and proportionately, a ZEV mandate and CO2 backstop can deliver a flexible pathway for manufacturers to deliver the UK’s shared decarbonisation ambition by providing affordable choice for consumers.  If constructed carelessly, it could amount to double regulation, restricting the already impressive roll-out of zero emission vehicles that we are currently seeing and leaving behind significant parts of society in the journey to net zero.

The strategy also confirms that any framework developed now, with clear targets and dates already confirmed for cars and vans, could be subsequently applied to all forms of new road vehicles sold in the UK, such as HGVs.  We believe that each type of transport needs to be evaluated individually to find the best regulatory approach to deliver decarbonisation, taking into account the different consumer profiles and available technologies as well as the different usage and market conditions.  Where the approach can be harmonised, then of course this should be done, but it cannot be simply assumed that one size will fit all.

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