The Government is poised to bring forward the ban on new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 to 2030, according to media sources.
A consultation on bringing forward the ban to 2035 or ‘earlier if a faster transition appears feasible’, and including hybrid vehicles for the first time, was held earlier this year and the outcome was first expected to be announced in September but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since then, Johnson has been advised by the NHS Test and Trace service to self-isolate, having come into contact with an MP who subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.
However, the prime minister has no symptoms and it was reported on Twitter that he is expected to continue to make public statements from inside No 10, including on the Government’s green plans.
The BBC and FT said the 2030 petrol and diesel ban was not expected to apply to hybrid cars, which could still be sold until 2035.
A number of organisations have expressed support for a 2030 ban, with Royal Mail the latest to join the UK Electric Fleets Coalition.
A poll on the Smart Transport website found that 2030 is the most popular option with almost half (49.3%) of respondents supporting that date, versus 27.8% supporting 2040, 13.4% choosing ‘other’ and 9.6% believing 2035 is the best date.
However, the RAC is among those with concerns about the new timetable, suggesting that the car industry will face a “monumental challenge” to switch production to fully electric vehicles (EVs), while EV charging infrastructure will need to be expanded at an “incredible pace”.
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said: “We believe many more rapid charging devices are needed in order to give drivers the confidence that they can make longer journeys in a convenient and time efficient manner.
“While many people, especially those with off-street parking, will charge their vehicles overnight at home, this won’t be possible for everyone so access to a reliable national charging network is vital to make the process of recharging simple and convenient.”