Thank you for your letter on the use of petrol motorcycles. Please accept my apologies for the delay in my response. I am sorry to read of your concerns and please be assured that they have been carefully noted and understood.
I have duly written to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero with the points that you raise to seek a full ministerial response that I can share with you. I will be in touch as soon as I receive the response which I hope will address your concerns in full.
Thank you for taking the time to get in touch to share your concerns. The Government believes that the transition to zero-emission vehicles will help us meet our climate change obligations, however, I do not think this is the be-all and end-all solution to our energy and climate problems.
Whilst Electric Vehicles are better for the environment than fuel-powered cars, and it is right that we transition away from fossil fuels eventually, we can’t transition on the cheap and I think serious consideration needs to be given to the scale of investment that’s needed to create green industries, especially in held-back regions like the North.
More generally, in my view, in order to reduce emissions, we need to be investing in renewable energy sources. Many experts, civil society groups and trade unions have advocated that green technologies should be introduced, along with changes such as boosts to public transport infrastructure and properly insulating homes, as part of a just transition and Green New Deal.
As the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) reported this April – investments in renewable energy, create more jobs than fossil fuels.
Thank you again for getting in touch to share your thoughts on this important matter. I will continue to bear in mind the points you have raised.
Thank you for contacting me about the plans to end the sale of all petrol and diesel vehicles in the UK by 2035.
In November 2020, the then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the United Kingdom would be phased out by 2030 and that all new cars and vans would be zero emission by 2035. This target has the support of both the Government and the Opposition.
The evidence is clear that transport is our country’s largest emitting sector, responsible for 24% of the UK’s total emissions in 2020. While it is true that motorcycles are less polluting than other combustion engine vehicles, there were over 1.4 million motorcycles licensed in 2020 and the Department for Transport has stated that it “does not want to see them remaining fossil fuelled as the rest of the vehicle fleet cleans up.” It points out that zero emission powered light vehicles are a clean and efficient way of getting around and can reduce congestion, air, and noise pollution from transport.
I agree with the 2030 and 2035 targets. In my view, decarbonising our transport sector is one of the most pressing challenges that we face as a nation, and we need more ambition and more action from this Government if we are to meet net zero. Nevertheless, I respect that you have a different view and I hope that the Government reflects on the concerns that you raise. It is important that, at the same time as accelerating the phase out of combustion engines, Ministers also set out a credible plan as to how this will be done. Such a plan should, in my view, prioritise the creation of low-carbon jobs and industries and it must ensure that communities are properly supported as we make the transition to a greener economy.
More widely, I recognise that it is important for motorcyclists that roads are kept in a good condition. In my view, the Department for Transport should be doing more to ensure that this is the case.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue.
Best wishes Jonathan
Jonathan Reynolds MP
Member of Parliament for Stalybridge and Hyde Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Industrial Strategy
As a keen motorcyclist in my younger days, I fully understand the importance of motorcycling for both commuting and leisure, as well as the sense of community that it can establish with fellow motorcyclists.
Operation Earthquake and the work of MAG, highlights the concerns of motorcyclists for an approach that needs to be affordable, realistic, and reasonable. The practicalities of reducing exhaust emissions and increasing the charging infrastructure represent positive ambitions for government and industry, but the buy-in of the motorcycle community will be crucial to the success of any policy.
Further to our correspondence, please find attached the response I have received from the Department for Transport.
Damian Collins MP
24th February 2023
Thank you for your email of 30 January to Mark Harper, enclosing correspondence from your constituent, […] of […] regarding the Government’s plans to phase out the sale of new petrol motorcycles. I am replying as the Minister responsible for this issue.
The Government held a consultation seeking views on when to end the sale of new non-zero emission L-Category vehicles (motorbikes and mopeds) between July to September this year. The consultation sought views on ending the sale of all non-zero emission L-Category vehicles by 2035, and by 2030 for L-Category vehicles in certain specified subcategories. The Department is now analysing the responses, including the response from the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) that your constituent references and with whom the Department has been engaging. A full response will be published in due course, taking the wide-ranging views on this issue into consideration.
The Government’s net zero commitment requires all sectors of our economy, including transport, to play a part and deliver substantial cuts to emissions to end the UK’s contribution to climate change. In 2020, our transport network was responsible for almost one quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with L-category vehicles responsible for 0.4% of this total. While cars and vans vastly outnumber motorcycles on UK roads, motorcycles are an important and sizeable vehicle population, with around 1.3 million licensed for road use in 2021. Decarbonisation of the whole of the UK’s road transport sector is crucial to ensure that the UK is able meet legally binding carbon reduction targets. The Government has already announced end of sale dates for other new non-zero emission road vehicles, including cars, vans and HGVs. The proposed end of sales dates positions the UK as a world leader in L-category decarbonisation, driving innovation and creating a market for zero emission L-Category vehicles.
More widely, I note that your constituent draws attention to the recently published report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) on the transition to zero emission driving. The Government’s view is that the report’s conclusions, specifically the costings for new vehicle purchases, the time taken to charge electric vehicles (EVs) and the distribution of EV infrastructure, are not in line with the current evidence base and standard methodologies used across the industry.
The Climate Chang Committee is an independent, statutory body, which advises the UK and the devolved governments on emissions targets, recommended that the UK goes faster on curtailing emissions from road transport. This will help reduce the harmful air pollutants in the UK’s towns and cities, save motorists money and help to safeguard the environment. Therefore, the transition to zero emission vehicles is a must if the UK is to meet its legally binding climate change obligations. The Government’s end of sales dates of different internal combustion engine (ICE) road vehicles are an important aspect of that ambition.
All the latest evidence that the Government is currently aware of indicates that the lifetime carbon footprint of a battery electric car or van is significantly less than that of an equivalent petrol or diesel electric car or van today. The Department commissioned Ricardo Energy & Environment to produce a UK specific lifecycle analysis for greenhouse gas emissions of cars, vans, buses, and heavy goods vehicles with different powertrains. The analysis strongly supports the Government’s strategy of increasing electrification for decarbonising road transport and maximising the use of renewable energy. The report can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/lifecycle-analysis-of-uk-road-vehicles.
Regarding your constituents’ question on future tax regimes, the Government has committed to keeping the transition to electric vehicles affordable for consumers. The Government keeps all taxes under review and the Chancellor is responsible for setting tax rates, including vehicle excise duty and company car tax rates.
I can assure your constituent that the Government has a clear plan to implement its ambitious ICE phase out dates. In July 202, DfT published its 2035 Delivery Plan for transitioning to zero emission cars and vans and its Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which set out the Government’s commitments and the actions needed to decarbonize the entire transport system in the UK.
Turning to Mr […]’s comments on charging, the smallest L-category vehicles have detachable batteries, which can be charged on a three-pin plug, making them more suited to being charged in the home or office. However, there are now over 36,000 public chargepoints available in the UK and the Government is committed to working with the industry to accelerate the pace of rollout.
To future proof new homes, the Government published world leading legislation, which requires new homes and those undergoing major renovation with associated parking in England to have a chargepoint installed. These regulations will lead to the installation of up to 145,000 new chargepoints across England every year.
The Government also recognises that not all drivers and riders will have access to off-street parking, but this new legislation also requires new non-residential buildings and those undergoing major renovation, such as shops and workplaces, to have charging infrastructure installed at the point of construction. The Future of Transport Regulatory Review, which closed on 22nd November 2021, sought views on the Government seeking powers to require a minimum level of EV charging infrastructure in existing non-residential car parks and new standalone plot car parks. The consultation is currently being analysed and the Government will publish its response in due course.
Forwarded letter from Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State, Department for Energy Security & Net Zero:
Thank you for your email of 19th January, enclosing correspondence from your constituent, [….] of [….], regarding the report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) published on 10th October 2022 about the Government’s plans to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.
The Government’s view is that the CEBR report’s conclusions, specifically the costings for new vehicle purchases, the time taken to charge electric vehicles (EVs) and the distribution of EV infrastructure, are not in line with the current evidence base and standard methodologies used across the industry. In particular, the costs of new electric cars are already falling, with many manufacturers already offering increasingly affordable models.
Road vehicles currently represent 91% of UK domestic transport emissions and cars and vans represent one fifth of UK domestic CO2 emissions. Taking action to tackle these emissions is a priority, as such, the transition to zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) is a must if the UK is to meet its legally binding climate change obligations. The Government’s target for 2030 is an important aspect of that ambition.
The Climate Change Committee recommended that the UK goes faster on curtailing emissions from road transport. This will help reduce the harmful air pollutants in our towns and cities, save motorists money and help to safeguard the environment. The Government’s support for industry and incentives for EVs will help cement the UK’s leading position in the design, manufacture, and use of ZEVs. This in turn will provide economic opportunities by stimulating employment, investment and exports.
I understand Mr […]’s concern about that taxation implications the CEBR report sites for the transition to electric transport. In July 2021 the Department for Transport (DfT) published its Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP), with 78 commitments setting transport on an ambitious path to net zero by 2050. The move to zero emissions cars, vans and scooters is responsible for the largest carbon savings in the plan.
The TDP recognises that accelerating the modal shift towards public transport and active travel is imperative. Therefore, it is the first of DfT’s six strategic priorities to delivering a net zero transport sector. In future we will use our cars differently and less often, with new technology helping reduce our carbon footprint. This links closely with the fifth strategic priority supporting place-based solutions to emission reductions, reforming how local transport infrastructure is funded to drive decarbonisation at a local level.
I want to reassure Mr […] that the Government remains technology neutral in how we reach our zero emission commitments – providing that the technologies are truly zero emission at the exhaust, and it will continue to support drivers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.
Thank you again for taking the time to write. I hope this response is helpful.
I understand your concerns, and as with all policy suggestions, I will pass along your thoughts so they can be adequately discussed.
I believe an important part of the transport debate is the necessity of securing great public transport alternatives that everyone can use. This is great for the environment, cheaper for consumers and practical. We should also look at encouraging active travel wherever possible. As we move away from diesel and petrol vehicles, these points should not be lost.
Thank you very much for your email of 31 January about petrol and diesel cars, and I appreciate you taking the trouble to get in touch.
As part of an ambitious ten point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Government plans to bring forward to 2030 the date at which sales of new petrol and diesel cars will end, following extensive consultation with car manufacturers and sellers.
This ban is only on the sale of new combustion engine cars; those already on the road will still be legal to own and drive. As I understand it, there is no suggestion that classic cars powered by traditional petrol or diesel engines will be forced off the road.
I have written on your behalf to the Transport Secretary to raise your particular concerns, and I will let you know as soon as I have a reply.
Thank you very much for writing to me, and I hope you are well.
I understand your concerns about the government’s proposed ban on the sale of new petrol motorcycles.
The Committee on Climate Change has stated that the UK is “way off track” on meeting its own carbon emissions targets in the 2020s and 2030s. In addition, the Government is even further off track on their Paris climate change agreement commitments, to which we must adhere to if we are to have a chance of avoiding the catastrophic impacts of climate change. Transport is the worst performing sector of the economy, as it accounts for a third of all carbon dioxide emissions and is the UK’s largest source of greenhouse gas. THE EVIDENCE IS CLEAR THAT TRANSPORT IS OUR COUNTRY’S LARGEST EMITTING SECTOR, RESPONSIBLE FOR 24% OF THE UK’S TOTAL EMISSIONS IN 2020. While it is true that motorcycles are less polluting than other combustion engine vehicles, there were over 1.4 million motorcycles licensed in 2020 and the Department for Transport has stated that it “does not want to see them remaining fossil fuelled as the rest of the vehicle fleet cleans up.”
It points out that zero emission powered light vehicles are a clean and efficient way of getting around and can reduce congestion, air, and noise pollution from transport.
More than 99.9% of peer-reviewed scientific papers agree that climate change is mainly caused by humans, according to a 2021 survey of 88,125 climate-related studies. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) has found that emissions from fossil fuels are the dominant cause of global warming. This is fact and needs to be taken seriously.
I agree with the 2030 and 2035 targets, and believe the Government could do more to reduce emissions. In my view, decarbonising our transport sector is one of the most pressing challenges that we face as a nation, and we need more ambition and more action from this Government if we are to meet net zero. Nevertheless, I respect that you have a different view and I hope that the Government reflects on the concerns that you raise.
It is important that, at the same time as accelerating the phase out of combustion engines, Ministers also set out a credible plan as to how this will be done. Such a plan should, in my view, prioritise the creation of low-carbon jobs and industries and it must ensure that communities are properly supported as we make the transition to a greener economy.
I believe we must decarbonise road transport by transitioning to electric vehicles and decarbonising the production of electricity on which these vehicles rely. Reducing vehicle miles travelled on roads and switching to electric would also address poor air quality, which is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK.
The Government should understand that its failure to invest now will have damaging long-term economic, social and environmental costs. I firmly believe that the climate crisis and air pollution crisis requires bold and immediate action, which is not forthcoming from the Government.
I appreciate you disagree with my response, but I hope you can understand my views.