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Will Rishi Sunak Push Back on Petrol Car Ban?

Will Rishi Sunak Push Back on Petrol Car Ban?
20 September 2023 | Updated 21 September 2023

The media is awash with reports that Rishi Sunak is to dial back on key net-zero policies, including the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars. ThisWeekinFM takes a look at the latest.

The BBC has identified several sources who claim that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is to renege on several climate change policies.

The alleged changes, according to documents seen by the BBC include:


  • Changing the deadline for the ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2030 to 2035.
  • The gas boiler ban in new homes by 2035 might have a target of 80 per cent phase-out rather than a full ban.
  • The planned 2026 ban on off-grid oil boilers possibly delayed to 2035


In response, Rishi Sunak told the BBC that the government is “committed to net-zero by 2050 and the agreements we have made internationally - but doing so in a better, more proportionate way.” He also confirmed that he would give a speech this week to confirm the decisions.

The rumour has angered certain Conservative MPs and business groups alike. The UK Green Building Council called the proposed changes “beyond disappointing” and “a real blow to the green business, investment and quality jobs that must be at the heart of our country’s future as we rebuild.” Former energy minister and Conservative MP Chris Skidmore said on Twitter (Now known as X) that “the decision to delay any commitments that have been made will cost the UK future jobs, inwards investment, and future economic growth..”

There is also the issue that businesses with large fleets have already made significant investments to prepare for the 2023 diesel/petrol car ban. FM service provider Mitie has already converted 50 per cent of its fleet to zero-emission electric vehicles. 

Alastair Murray, MD and Founder of ground source heat pump provider Rendesco said: "If the Prime Minister is serious about addressing the climate crisis, encouraging economic growth, and building more houses he needs to create an environment of certainty and stability.  Right now, we have neither and it is costing British households dearly".

Home Secretary Suella Braverman spoke to BBC Breakfast on the morning of 20 September to praise the decisions, saying: “We’re not going to save the country by bankrupting the British people”.

Picture: a photograph of Rishi Sunak. Image Credit: Chris McAndrew. Link to license here

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 September 2023


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