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New law requires 22% of cars sold in UK to be zero-emission

Threshold will rise annually until it reaches 100 per cent by 2035

Maira Butt
Thursday 04 January 2024 04:22 GMT
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Climate Report Sets Deadline For Zero Carbon Emissions

New rules requiring car manufacturers to sell a minimum proportion of zero-emission vehicles has come into force, according to the government’s Department for Transport (DfT).

That generally means electric vehicles (EVs).

Under the new mandate which became law on Wednesday, car manufacturers will have to make sure at least 22 per cent of vehicles sold are zero-emission - or pay the government £15,000 per polluting vehicle sold above the limits.

The threshold will rise annually until it reaches 100% by 2035. There is also a threshold for van sales, starting at 10 per cent this year.

The mandate is a devolved policy and was developed with the Scottish government, Welsh government and Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure.

The law comes as it emerged on Tuesday that a government target for EV chargers near motorways had been missed (AFP via Getty Images)

The Westminster Government’s technology and decarbonisation minister Anthony Browne, who will visit an EV charging hub installed by bp pulse in central London on Wednesday, said:

“Alongside us having spent more than £2bn in the transition to electric vehicles, our zero-emission vehicle mandate will further boost the economy and support manufacturers to safeguard skilled British jobs in the automotive industry.

“We are providing investment certainty for the charging sector to expand our charging network, which has already grown by 44 per cent since this time last year.

“This will support the constantly growing number of EVs in the UK, which currently account for over 16 per cent of the new UK car market.”

The threshold will rise annually until it reaches 100% by 2035. There is also a threshold for van sales, starting at 10% this year (AFP via Getty Images)

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The industry is investing billions in decarbonisation and recognises the importance of the zero-emission vehicles mandate in delivering net zero.”

The law comes as it emerged on Tuesday that a government target for EV chargers near motorways had been missed.

The DfT set an ambitious goal for there to be at least six rapid or ultra-rapid chargers at every motorway service area in England by the end of 2023 in a bid to improve the confidence of drivers to make long journeys.

However, new RAC analysis of data by charger locator service Zapmap found that just 39 per cent of the 119 sites met the target. The DfT said the number of public charge points is “surging across the country”.

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