UK carmakers hit back as reports suggest Prime Minister Sunak will water down green policies

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to the media during a visit to the Shell St Fergus gas plant in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland on July 31, 2023.

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LONDON — UK-based industry bodies and automakers criticized British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday amid reports that he is preparing to water down several key net-zero climate pledges.

BBC reported The measures include postponing the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030 and a ban on new gas boilers to 2035.

Sunak is expected to deliver a speech on the topic on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the BBC report.

Lisa Brankin, Head of Ford UK – in this Confident He said the 2030 target – to make the UK its European electric vehicle parts manufacturing hub – was “a key catalyst for Ford to accelerate towards a cleaner future”.

“Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment and sustainability. A 2030 relaxation would undermine all three,” Frankin said.

“Trained policy attention is needed to develop the EV market in the short term and support consumers when the headwinds are strong: infrastructure is immature, tariffs are looming and the cost of living is high.”

As part of a broader target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the target was announced in 2020 to include petrol and diesel car sales.

Stellantis, which opened the UK’s first EV-only manufacturing plant earlier this month, called for further clarification.

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“Politicians in all kinds of governments over the years have not been honest about spending and trade-offs. Instead they have taken the easy way out and we can keep it all,” Sunak said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This realism does not mean losing our ambition or abandoning our commitments. Far from it. I am proud that Britain is leading the world on climate change.”

“No leak will stop me from going through the process of telling the country how and why we need to change,” Sunak said.

He also said he was committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Association of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said the government needed to provide the auto industry with a “clear, consistent message, attractive incentives and infrastructure that would give confidence rather than anxiety”.

Ministers have suggested for months that the government is considering watering down green policies.

The ruling Conservative Party is lagging behind rival Labor ahead of national elections expected next year.

Many members of Sunak’s own party oppose weakening the Green targets, with MP Chris Skidmore telling the BBC on Tuesday that it was a “huge mistake”. [Sunak’s]Prime Ministership so far.”

However, Home Secretary Suella Braverman insisted in broadcast comments on Wednesday that the prime minister’s approach to green policies was “pragmatic”.

The BBC report suggests that other changes include new energy efficiency restrictions on homes and a new tax-free commitment to discourage flying.

In the long term, weakening UK climate policies could “harm economic growth by undermining domestic and foreign investment that develops and deploys clean technologies such as heat pumps and electric vehicles. Cooler because they are more exposed to volatile fossil fuel prices,” says Grantham Research on Climate Change and the Environment. said Bob Ward, the company’s director of policy and communications.

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Criticism also came from the energy industry, as Chris Hewett, head of trade association Solar Energy UK, said the measures were “an economic miscalculation of historic proportions”, with businesses in the US, China, EU and India leading the way. Renewable energy and electric vehicles sectors.

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