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THE Government has published its Net Zero Strategy ahead of the COP26 conference in Glasgow, setting out how the UK will remove carbon from power, shift to electric vehicles and start to phase out gas boilers.

Major commitments on transport, include a zero emission vehicle mandate and further funding of £620m for zero emission vehicle grants and EV infrastructure.

Its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate takes effect from 2024 and the Government will publish a consultation early next year along with CO2 emissions regulation to ensure standards in fleets are maintained, as well as how and when targets will be set and enforced.

The £620m is set aside for ZEV grants and EV infrastructure, including further funding for local EV Infrastructure  with a focus on local on-street residential charging.

A further £350m will be available to help carmakers and their supply chains ramp up for EVs. There are also commitments on active travel and transport, including to encourage half of journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2030.

Funding also includes:

  • £3bn to create integrated bus networks, more frequent services and bus lanes to speed journeys.
  • Lcal transport systems, with 4,000 new zero emission buses and the infrastructure to support them, and a net zero rail network by 2050,  and significant investment in rail electrification and city rapid transit systems.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re going further and faster than ever to tackle climate change. Together with an additional £620m to support vehicle grants and charging infrastructure, our plans for an ambitious zero emission vehicle mandate show that we’re leading the world on the switch to EVs.

“We published our Transport Decarbonisation Plan in July which was just the start – as we look ahead to the COP26 climate change conference and beyond, we need to continue our efforts to deliver its ambitious commitments. This will provide certainty to drivers and industry as we create sustainable economic growth, boost job opportunities and clean up the air in our towns and cities.”

AA president Edmund King, AA president, said the new charge point funding targeted more at the eight million households currently without dedicated off-street parking was a welcome step which will give power to electric drivers.

He added “With the cost of petrol and diesel rising, the desire to switch to electric is stronger than ever before. Should the Chancellor go a step further next week and scrap VAT on targeted new EV sales, he would deliver an electrifying Budget that could ‘Get Electric Done’.

King said that manufacturers are already taking big steps in order to meet the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars and vans, but warned that bringing in a ‘red tape’ exercise could harm car production plans already in place.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The automotive industry is putting zero-emission vehicles on Britain’s roads at pace beyond all forecasts, such is the choice and appeal of these new models.

“A well-designed, flexible regulatory framework could help maintain or even increase this pace to ensure we deliver on our shared decarbonisation ambitions.

“Consumers need choice and encouragement, irrespective of where they live or what they drive. The additional targeted funding for electric vehicles is welcome and will help ensure affordability for certain models. To ensure we have the reliable, accessible and nationwide charge point network this transition needs, however, requires a similar regulatory approach.

“The announcement of additional funds for on-street residential charging must energise much-needed private sector investment but consumers will only have confidence in the future if there are commensurate and binding requirements on the infrastructure sector. Combining regulatory commitments with financial ones is the key to a successful transition to zero-emission road transport.”

And  Vauxhall has largely welcomed the ZEV mandate, which it said would provide clarity to the UK motor industry and the rest of the electric vehicle ecosystem, on the basis of a 360-degree approach.

Iryna Kocharova Head of Sustainability at Lex Autolease said: “We are pleased to hear that the Government has announced further plans to support the ambition outlined in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan. We welcome the commitment to investment in infrastructure and supply chain and would be supportive of a well-executed EV sales mandate that is carefully designed to sit alongside CO2 targets creating an overall scheme which is reasonable and proportionate.”

Alfonso Martinez, Managing Director at LeasePlan UK, said that it was vital to to develop a resilient UK supply chain for all zero emission vehicles, including cars, vans and trucks.

“The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate policy is welcome news – as it goes some way to address the issue around the supply of zero emission vehicles. Existing supply issues have been further compounded by the current semiconductor shortage, which is causing back-ups in the supply chain across the country. These delayed vehicles could be on our roads today, replacing petrol and diesel cars and vans with zero-emission alternatives and helping to clean the air.

“We support the Government’s long-standing commitment to vehicle emissions regulations, and we expect to see targets ambitious as existing arrangements – particularly by ensuring that manufacturers will continue to supply the UK with electric cars and vans. But we must ensure that this mandate does not result in further red tape. While infrastructure is improving, it still isn’t where it needs to be to support EV uptake en-masse. Grants have been pared back, vehicle supply is constrained, and drivers need visibility on future tax bills.

“So, it must be simple for manufacturers to supply the UK with zero emissions vehicles if we are able to lead the global charge towards cleaner air. Simply put, we need to move further, faster.”

David Bushnell, Principal Consultant, Alphabet (GB) said that while the Net Zero Strategy is a welcome step in the right direction, the fleet industry needs certainty, not further consultancy.

“Concrete future tax rates for company cars are needed now to empower decision makers to make the change to electric with confidence, and not be hit down the line by a jump in taxation. Not only does this support fleet buyers with future planning, particularly those currently locked in to petrol or diesel fleet contracts, but it also helps increase company car drivers, preventing people opting for cash.

“This is essential to feed the used car market and ease drivers leasing their own cars which may not be carbon efficient. As the biggest buyers of electric vehicles, tax certainty is crucial for the fleet industry, and it’s this that will be the driving factor to the success of electrifying our roads.”

Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: “A combination of financial support measures such as the plug-in electric vehicle grant and a reliable, easy-to-access charging infrastructure is vital to ensure that the majority of motorists embrace the transition to zero emissions. Although it is unclear how the funds announced will be allocated, these investments represent a positive step.

“It is imperative that the Government continues to support vehicle retailers and consumers to accomplish the ambitious goal of ending the sale of internal combustion vehicles by 2030/2035 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

“To help achieve these targets, NFDA has been working closely with its franchised dealer members to facilitate the transition to zero emissions through our Government backed Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) accreditation scheme which recognises retailers’ expertise in the sector and supports consumer confidence.

“We will continue to liaise with relevant stakeholders and industry partners, and we look forward to seeing further details about the Government’s plans”.





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