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Government to encourage uptake of low emission vehicles

New plans will be set out to boost sales of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in the forthcoming emissions reductions plan, the government has promised.

The announcement was made in response to a report made by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), Sustainability in the Department for Transport, back in September.

The report raised concerns that the Department for Transport (DfT) had no medium-term strategy to promote ULEVs - such as electric cars - after 2020, when it predicts that ULEVs will have a 5% market share.

The long-term aim is to increase the market share of ULEVs to 60% by 2030 as part of the UK’s 2050 emissions target outlined in the Climate Change Act 2008. However, the EAC was sceptical this would be achieved.

“Transport is now the highest emitting sector of our economy and the government is set to miss its climate change targets for the sector. That’s unacceptable,” commented EAC chair, Mary Creagh MP, on the response.

“To meet our decarbonisation targets and keep air pollution within legal limits, the government needs a new strategy to increase the uptake of cleaner vehicles, such as electric cars. We look forward to seeing it.”

In their September report, the EAC were alarmed that emissions from the transport sector have increased for the past two years running and the sector is likely to miss its 2025 decarbonisation objective by almost 50%.

The government responded that it is “committed” to ensuring that the transport sector plays its part in meeting objectives and it has already begun planning beyond 2025.  

“The government has set the fifth carbon budget which limits emissions to an annual average reduction of 57% over 2028-2032 (from 1990 levels),” said the response.

“All of government is working together to develop the plan for decarbonising through the 2020s and to stay on track to meeting our 2050 target while keeping costs low for hard working families and businesses.”

Among other recommendations in its report, the EAC also advised DfT to continue to work towards EU Ambient Air Quality Directive targets after the UK leaves the EU.

The government responded that the UK has a long commitment to improving the environment as far back as the Clean Air Act introduced in 1956, prior to the UK joining the EU, and will continue in this regard.

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