Transport decarbonisation package to help boost net zero ambitions

Tanya Sinclair (ChargePoint)

A ROBUST package of measures to turbocharge the UK’s progress towards decarbonising transport, has been unveiled by the Government.

The measures will support the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) as well as the production of sustainable aviation fuel in the UK – continuing the country’s transition towards net zero.

The Government has launched the £381 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund alongside an additional £15 million for the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS). Taken together the funding will support the installation of tens of thousands of new chargers across the country, increasing EV infrastructure in every area and ensuring the UK’s charging network can support the increasing number of EV drivers and those considering the switch.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: 

“Transport is one of the most important sectors for achieving net zero by 2050, and so we must accelerate our efforts to decarbonise how people get from A to B while growing our economy and supporting thousands of green jobs.

“From expanding our charging network to boosting the production of cleaner aviation fuel, today’s announcement is a great stride forwards – offering people more choice on how to stay connected while delivering the carbon reductions needed to achieve net zero.”

The Government has also unveiled its proposals for a world-leading zero emission vehicle mandate which, from next year, will set minimum annual targets for the percentage of new car and van sales that must be zero emission. The proposed mandate makes the UK’s path to zero emission vehicles the fastest in Europe.

The plans support the Government’s commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and from 2035 all new cars and vans must be fully zero emission at the exhaust. Between 2030 and 2034 all new vehicles must be either fully zero emission or be able to drive a significant distance with zero emissions.

The final proposals are being jointly consulted upon by the UK Government, alongside Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and are the single largest carbon saving measure identified in the Government’s Net Zero Strategy.

The measures build on the progress already made in the transition to electric vehicles, with almost 17% of new cars sold last year being zero emission – supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs in the sector and helping to the country to reach its net zero targets.

The new measures will support the wide range of manufacturers in the sector by giving them flexibility through a credits-based trading system, enabling them to bank credits in years when they exceed annual targets for use in future years or trade them with other manufacturers who have fallen short. If manufacturers do not meet their yearly targets, they could face possible fines of up to £18,000 for every vehicle they miss their target by.

Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Jesse Norman said:

“As today’s announcements show, the Government is doing more than ever to help the UK move away from petrol and diesel and towards electric vehicles.

“That means investing in charging infrastructure and giving a clear direction to manufacturers so they can roll out new electric vehicles faster and more efficiently. Overall, the UK is leading the way in decarbonising transport, a sector that is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases.”

Today’s announcement provides long-term certainty to industry, increasing the number of zero emission cars available for people to buy and setting a clear direction for operators to accelerate the installation of chargepoints. With a greater proportion of zero emission vehicles on the UK’s roads, more drivers will benefit from lower overall running costs against their petrol and diesel counterparts. This will support a cheaper second-hand EV market, while improving air quality across the country for everyone.

At current rates, aviation would become one of the largest emitting sectors by 2050, which is why it’s imperative the Government takes action. The Government is therefore today opening the second application round of the £165 million Advanced Fuels Fund, which will help deliver on the commitment for the UK to have at least five commercial scale UK SAF plants in construction by 2025.

The production and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the UK is central to the Jet Zero Strategy. SAF can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 70% whilst boosting investment, jobs and fuel security.

Aviation Minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton said:  

“Today’s renewed support for sustainable aviation fuel is another step towards making Jet Zero a reality.

“Developing a UK SAF industry will not only put the country at the heart of green aviation worldwide, but also boost investment, jobs and fuel security in the UK.”

Additionally, a second consultation on the SAF mandate has been launched which sets out how the mandate will deliver carbon savings, provide incentives to SAF producers and signal to investors the vital role SAF will play in the future of UK aviation. Furthermore, we are building on the global reputation of our academic institutions by confirming that the University of Sheffield will deliver the UK Clearing House to support the testing and certification of new SAF.

Gerry Keaney, BVRLA Chief Executive, commented:  

“The ZEV mandate is a critical tool in the UK meeting its ambitious Net Zero targets. The clarity given today will give fleets and motorists the confidence to continue their decarbonisation journey and accelerate the transition to zero emission transport.  Electric vehicles are more popular and accessible than ever. This mandate brings long-term certainty to the new and used EV markets and will help firms across the automotive supply chain plan for the phase out of petrol and diesel vehicle sales.  We look forward to working with the Government as it implements this mandate and monitors the impact on the new vehicle market.”

Tanya Sinclair, Senior Director, Public Policy, Europe at ChargePoint, commented: 

“At ChargePoint, we welcome this announcement and the certainty it brings to all leading charging industry players. An ambitious ZEV mandate in the UK will guarantee numbers of EVs on the road from 2024, and therefore provides a clear signal to infrastructure investors to scale up charge point roll out. Having the right charging infrastructure in place to meet future EV demand will support the growth of the charging sector and thousands of highly skilled jobs across the UK. We look forward to continuing to work with the Government on a robust ZEV mandate, introduced as quickly as possible following the consultation period.”

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