Sale of New Petrol and Diesel Cars and Vans

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:13 pm on 4th July 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 2:13 pm, 4th July 2019

I pay tribute to all hon. Members who have contributed to today’s debate, especially the mover of the motion, Peter Kyle, who eloquently set out the joy of driving an EV and spoke about the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’s work in this area; Lilian Greenwood, who chairs the Transport Committee and has considerable expertise; and my hon. Friends the Members for Eddisbury (Antoinette Sandbach) and for Rugby (Mark Pawsey), who also played important roles on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee inquiry into electric vehicles last year. I am also delighted that Mrs Hodgson was able to contribute, never missing an opportunity to remind us that the Nissan UK car plant is in her constituency. I will try to address many of the points that were raised in the debate, but given the time constraints, I hope Members will accept that I will have to limit the number of interventions I take in order to allow time for the next —very emotional—debate on assisted dying.

The dangers of climate change are helping to drive a revolution in road vehicles, and everyone who spoke today shares the Government’s ambition that the UK should lead the way. We can all be proud of the fact that on 27 June, the Government set a legally binding target for the UK to achieve net zero by 2050, making us the first major economy in the world to legislate for a net zero target and continuing a proud tradition of leadership when it comes to tackling climate change. Achieving that target will mean working together across political lines and encompassing all parts of society. We will need clear, considered strategies, backed up by action.

Let me be clear from the outset that the Government and I share the ambition of all colleagues from across the House to have all new vehicles delivering as many zero emission miles as possible, as fast as possible. As has been said, the current targets are that by 2040, all new cars and vans will be effectively zero emission; and that by 2050, almost every car and van in the UK will be zero emission. We set out clear steps towards achieving the 2040 target in our strategy “The Road to Zero”, which was published almost exactly a year ago. We believe that 2040 is an ambitious but achievable target, which represents the right balance between environmental ambitions and deliverability, recognising the need for a period in which industry can develop the necessary products and we can address some of the barriers about which hon. Members have talked at length today.