EDITOR’S COMMENT: The UK Government intends to stop the sale of all new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2035, with the intention of being completely carbon neutral by 2050. This policy is horribly expensive and needless, and threatens the jobs and livelihoods of millions of people all over the country. Sign our petition now!
New cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK from 2030, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said. But some hybrids would still be allowed, he confirmed. It is part of what Mr Johnson calls a “green industrial revolution” to tackle climate change and create jobs in industries such as nuclear energy.
Critics say the £4bn allocated to implement the 10-point plan is far too small for the scale of the challenge. The total amount of new money announced in the package is a 25th of the projected £100bn cost of high-speed rail, HS2.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma told BBC Breakfast the £4bn was part of a broader £12bn package of public investment, which “will help to bring in three times as much in terms of private sector money”. Mr Sharma, who is president of the COP26 international climate summit that the UK will host next year, said the money would also support the creation of 250,000 jobs in parts of the UK “where we want to see levelling up”.
The government hopes that many of those jobs will be in northern England and in Wales, and that 60,000 will be in offshore wind. The plan includes provision for a large nuclear plant – likely to be at Sizewell in Suffolk – and for advanced small nuclear reactors, which it is hoped, will create an estimated 10,000 jobs at Rolls-Royce and other firms.
The plans will also affect some people’s homes. The government will bring forward, to 2023, the date by which new homes will need to be warmed without using gas heating. It will aim to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 – these are low-energy electrical devices for warming homes. And it has extended the Green Homes Grant for home insulation for a year after the first tranche was massively over-subscribed.
Clean hydrogen will be blended into the natural gas supply to reduce overall emissions from gas, and the government wants a town to volunteer for a trial of 100% hydrogen for heat, industry and cooking. The hydrogen – attracting a subsidy of up to £500m – will be produced in places such as the North East of England, partly by energy from offshore wind.