The UK will ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, 10 years earlier than planned, under prime minister Boris Johnson’s push for more ambitious action on climate change. The British premier has earmarked 12 billion pounds (13.4 billion euros, $15.9 billion) for the wide-ranging plans, which he hopes will secure up to 250,000 jobs and help meet a target for the UK to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Outlining his 10-point plan for a ‘UK Green Industrial Revolution’, Johnson said £582 million has been allocated as grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to make them cheaper to buy and incentivise more people to make the transition. Nearly £500 million will be spent in the next four years for the development and mass-scale production of electric vehicle batteries, officials said, adding that the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 had been agreed with car manufacturers and sellers.
The government will also spend 525 million pounds on developing large and smaller-scale nuclear plants, and new advanced modular reactors, in a move likely to anger environmentalists. Johnson is hoping the ambitious proposals can help deliver on pledges to reduce Britain’s stark regional inequality and repair some of the economic damage done by the pandemic.
Johnson said: “Although this year has taken a very different path to the one we expected, the UK is looking to the future and seizing the opportunity to build back greener. The recovery of our planet and of our economies can and must go hand-in-hand. As we look ahead to hosting the COP26 climate summit next year, I am setting out an ambitious plan for a green industrial revolution that will transform the way we live in the UK. This is a shared global challenge – every country in the world needs to take action to secure the future of the planet for our children, grandchildren and generations to come,” he added. The UK has a legal target to cut greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050, requiring huge cuts to emissions and any remaining pollution from sectors such as aviation needs to be ‘offset’ by measures such as planting trees.
“My 10-point plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050,” Johnson said in a statement ahead of publishing the full blueprint. “Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales.”