VoteClimate: Draft Vehicle Emissions Trading Schemes Order 2023 - 29th November 2023

Draft Vehicle Emissions Trading Schemes Order 2023 - 29th November 2023

Here are the climate-related sections of speeches by MPs during the Commons debate Draft Vehicle Emissions Trading Schemes Order 2023.

Full text:

09:31 Bill Esterson (Labour)

Labour supports the introduction of the ZEV mandate. The Minister said much that I can completely agree with. Decarbonising cars and vans is an absolute priority in delivering net zero, as he reiterated throughout his remarks. He set out extremely well the opportunities for the industry in this country. However, there are significant challenges, sadly, of the Government’s own making. I understand that there are problems in the Conservative party with this subject.

I will look at how the ZEV mandate, which we support, can be best rolled out and how the incentives can be used to deliver the agenda that the Minister set out. The confirmation that 80% of new cars and 70% of new vans will be zero emission by 2030 moves the UK towards net zero in cars and vans—that is true. However, the question we should address is how to balance the supply of vehicles, which the mandate sets to manufacturers, with demand from consumers. That is why what the Prime Minister said in September, and the way his party conference speech was trailed in advance again and again, caused so many problems. The change in date from 2030 to 2035 has created a problem for consumer confidence. We therefore support the end of new sales of petrol and diesel cars in 2030, not 2035. In Government, if we are given the responsibility in the coming year, we will revert to 2030 to emphasise the importance of taking the earliest possible steps to decarbonise.

The Prime Minister announced the change in date. After 2030, the remaining 20% in the mandate includes petrol, diesel and hybrids whereas it previously covered only hybrids. However, the problem is that consumers heard, “Don’t worry; you don’t have to switch”. That leaves manufacturers that have already made sizeable investments—the Minister set out the commitment of the industry very well—in zero-emission vehicles with the serious concern that drivers will not buy their electric vehicles because the Prime Minister told them not to worry.

Let us look at some of what industry said. Emma Pinchbeck, the chief executive officer of Energy UK, said of the net zero roll-backs:

“I just came out of a meeting where a chunk of the British economy was assured by ministers that net zero was a top priority and that policy stability was crucial for investors. Now this.”

The Climate Change Committee stated:

“The cancellation of some Net Zero measures is likely to increase both energy bills and motoring costs for households…any undermining of their roll-out will ultimately increase costs”—

In 2020, the then Transport Secretary, the right hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps), announced the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars after 2030. He said that it would put the UK at the forefront of the zero-emission vehicle revolution with vehicles built right here in the UK. I agreed with him then, and I still agree with him now. I am concerned that there are Members on the Conservative Benches who do not agree with him.

“Stellantis is committed to achieve 100% zero-emission new car and van sales in the UK and Europe by 2030. Our range will progressively move towards 100% electric, ahead of”

“For many years the UK has been a leader in the transition to the green economy of the future. Government policies have attracted investment to the UK and created well paid, high quality jobs. Members of ChargeUK have committed over £6 billion to roll out EV infrastructure in all parts of the UK at an unprecedented rate, turning on a new public charging point every 20 minutes, creating good, sustainable jobs, supporting the switch to EVs and thereby reducing emissions and improving air quality for all. This has been made possible by a clear commitment from the UK government to decarbonise our economy, with the 2030 phase out date for new petrol and diesel vehicles, 2030 acting as an essential catalyst. In his first speech as Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak said ‘I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda’.”

The Climate Change Committee Chair said at the time:

“The Government not only has a legal obligation to meet its Net Zero 2050 target. It also has a commitment to hit the interim emission reduction targets it has put into law. The Climate Change Committee has an obligation to assess progress towards those targets. In June, we said in our Progress Report that we were less confident in the Government's ability to deliver its 2030 and 2050 commitments than we were a year previously. We need to go away and do the calculations, but today’s announcement is likely to take the UK further away from being able to meet its legal commitments. This, coupled with the recent unsuccessful offshore wind auction, gives us concern. More action is needed, and we await the Government’s new plan for meeting their targets and look forward to receiving their response to our Progress Report, expected at the end of October.”

The regulations refer to charge point infrastructure. The Government are 10 years behind their stated 2030 date for the roll-out of 30,000 charge points—that is from the latest figures that the Government published. What changes will the Government make to increase the rate of roll-out? That is a key element of securing consumer confidence to buy the electric vehicles being produced as a result of the zero-emission vehicle mandate.


09:47 Anthony Browne (Conservative)

I thank the shadow Minister for his contribution. I will address all his points, but most were about the change in date from 2030 to 2035 for banning the sale of pure petrol and diesel internal combustion engine cars. I noticed that almost everything the hon. Gentleman quoted from industry was said on the day of the announcement or the day after, before they realised that actually the Government were not changing the zero-emission—

I said “almost” everything the hon. Gentleman quoted. The quotes he cited from ChargeUK, for example, and much else, were about this announcement today. There was concern before the industry realised that actually the Government were not changing the zero-emission vehicle mandate, which we are implementing today. This is what gives certainty to industry. Indeed, I was with the chair of ChargeUK yesterday, and lots of charge point operators, who welcomed this legislation. They have £6 billion of investment that they are rolling out for charge points, precisely because of this.

On a broader point, the hon. Gentleman touched on the carbon budgets. We have had three carbon budgets so far, and we have exceeded every single one of them by about 14%. We are way ahead of schedule and where we said we would be at this point in time. As the hon. Gentleman knows, if we look at our carbon dioxide reductions historically since the benchmark year of 1990, not only are we the leader of all the major European countries, we are the leader of the G7. Our greenhouse gas emission reductions are the greatest of any country in the G20. We are genuinely world leading on this. Looking at our future targets, the UK’s nationally determined contribution is 68%, and the EU’s is 55%. We are going to cut far faster than other countries. That is what gives us the leeway to be flexible on things in quite a minor way to give consumers more choice as we get to net zero. The impact of the announcement in terms of carbon dioxide emissions is about 1% of the total impact of these regulations.

The hon. Gentleman asked about the OBR report and questioned whether it thought we were going to meet the mandate. We are not allowed to show things, but I have the OBR graph here. It has underestimated our electric vehicle roll-out at every single stage. We have surpassed all its forecasts. Its latest forecast shows that it thinks we will meet the mandate and meet 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and 80% by 2030. That is not surprising, because, as the hon. Gentleman mentioned, that is what the industry itself is planning anyway. Sixty-seven per cent. of our car market is already committed to being 100% zero emissions by 2030—I think I am right in saying that that includes Ford, Stellantis and Nissan. All major car manufacturers are committed to 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2035. That is the trajectory the industry is on. This instrument gives them the certainty for it, but that is what is happening.

The order is the most ambitious piece of legislation of its kind in any country anywhere in the world. Indeed, it is the biggest single act this Government are making to reach net zero. It is overwhelmingly supported by industry, which has helped to develop it. It establishes a clear pathway for the decarbonisation of our new car and van fleet. It will encourage vehicle manufacturers to invest in zero-emission vehicle manufacturing in the UK, encourage charge point operators to invest in our infrastructure network, and support jobs and working people as we move to a cleaner economy. I hope the Committee has found the debate informative and short, and that Members will join me, alongside colleagues in Senedd Cymru and in the Scottish Parliament, which have already approved this legislation, in supporting this instrument.


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