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Call for Evidence

Zero emission vehicles and road pricing

In November 2020, as part of its ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’, the Government announced that it would end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, with all vehicles being required to have a significant zero emissions capability (e.g. plug-in and full hybrids) from 2030 and be 100% zero emissions from 2035. This is the second time the date of the ban has been brought forward, having already been moved from 2040 to 2035. The Government says that accelerating the shift to zero emission vehicles could deliver realising carbon savings of around 300 Mt CO2e (metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) by 2050.

To support the transition to electric vehicles, the Government has committed up to £1 billion to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains. It has also committed to investing in £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, targeting support on rapid charge points on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street charge points near homes and workplaces.

The Government will also consult on a date for phasing out the sale of new diesel heavy goods vehicles. For instance, freight trials will be undertaken in 2021 to explore the potential for hydrogen, electric and other zero emission lorries.

The move to zero emission vehicles was endorsed in September 2020 by Climate Assembly UK, the first UK-wide citizens’ assembly on climate change. Assembly members recommended a future which minimises restrictions on travel and lifestyles, placing the emphasis on shifting to electric vehicles and improving public transport, rather than on large reductions in car use. The Assembly’s recommendations included a ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2030-35.

The Government has said that the tax system will need to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles and that revenue from motoring taxes must keep pace with this change. One consequence is that the £40 billion annual income from Fuel Duty and Vehicle Excise Duty is likely to decline sharply in future. A new system of road pricing—which can come in different forms—has been proposed as a potential solution, although in the past such schemes have been perceived to lack strong public support.

Our call for evidence

The Transport Committee will hold an inquiry into the implications of accelerating the shift to zero emissions vehicles and the potential for introducing road pricing, or pay-as-you-drive, schemes. We would welcome written evidence on the following matters:

Accelerating the shift to zero emission vehicles

  • The feasibility, opportunities, and challenges presented by the acceleration of the ban of the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2030;
  • The actions required by Government and private operators to encourage greater uptake of electric vehicles and the infrastructure required to support them;
  • The particular challenges around decarbonising buses and how these should be addressed;
  • The Government’s ambition to phase out the sale of new diesel heavy goods vehicles, including the scope to use hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

Road pricing

  • The case for introducing some form of road pricing and the economic, fiscal, environmental and social impacts of doing so;
  • Which particular road pricing or pay-as-you-drive schemes would be most appropriate for the UK context and the practicalities of implementing such schemes;
  • The level of public support for road pricing and how the views of the public need to be considered in the development of any road pricing scheme;
  • The lessons to be learned from other countries who are seeking to decarbonise road transport and/or utilise forms of road pricing.

This call for written evidence has now closed.

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