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‘We can’t wait until 2040’

Phasing out diesel and petrol cars by 2030 could help add £3bn to the UK economy and create 14,000 jobs in auto industry
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
‘We can’t wait until 2040’

Ending the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, rather than the UK government’s target of 2040, could make the UK a more attractive destination for electric vehicle investment, helping add an extra 14,000 jobs to the UK auto industry, a new report by Vivid Economics for WWF shows.

It would also take seven million dirty diesel and petrol vehicles off our roads and reduce air pollution by around 30% in 2030.

Becoming an EV leader

The analysis shows the electric vehicle (EV) industry could employ over 100,000 people in 2030 and add £3bn to the UK economy by attracting new investment.

The report suggests a quicker, 2030 phase out would help transform the UK into a leading producer and purchaser of EVs in Europe by sending sufficiently strong signals to the market to attract at least one new EV manufacturing plant.

The size of the potential EV market created by an early phase out and existing UK auto manufacturing industries expertise in assembly put the UK in a strong position to develop its EV industry.

By 2030, the UK could account for 47% of EV demand and produce nearly 1 million electric vehicles per year in 2030. Even under a scenario where a 2030 phase out of petrol and diesel vehicles does not attract new investment, the report shows jobs in the auto manufacturing industry would likely remain broadly level, as it transitioned from petrol and diesel manufacture.

Reducing air pollution by 30%

The research also outlines the benefits to human health and the environment of a 2030 phase out. Air pollution currently causes 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK – but an early phase out would substantially improve air quality, reducing air pollution by 30% in 2030.

It would also help the UK meet its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, bridging nearly half of the gap that currently exists in the UK’s fifth carbon budget – its interim target for carbon emissions by 2032 – and save 280m tonnes of CO2 out to 2050.

‘We can’t wait until 2040 – through another 22 years of air pollution and greenhouse gases – to end the sale of dirty diesel and petrol vehicles. Right now, other countries, and even vehicle manufacturers, are showing greater ambition than the UK government. But stopping the sale of these polluters by 2030 will not only clean up our air and cut emissions, but will also bolster the UK economy and give us the best chance to restore Nature.’

Head of climate and energy at WWF-UK

Government support

Moving forward the phase out to 2030 will provide a boost to EVs. But the report also shows that helping the UK’s economy adapt to an EV future will require robust government action to support the electric vehicle industry, including assistance in rolling out car charging infrastructure.

The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, currently passing through Parliament, the Government’s Road to Zero Strategy due out by the end of the month and Theresa May’s global zero emission vehicle summit in the autumn all provide opportunities for the UK government to demonstrate their support for this developing technology.

‘This study pushes the debate forward on the transition away from polluting fossil fuels to clean electric transport. WWF’s call to accelerate progress is timely and should raise the bar for the government’s ambition in its forthcoming ‘Road to Zero’ Strategy.’

Chair of the All Party Group on Electric and Automated Vehicles

Click here to find out how drivers could be paid for using their electric car batteries to support the power network.

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