Commission responds to net zero transport plans

The Commission responds to government's Transport Decarbonisation Plan

Published: 14 Jul 2021

By: Ben Wilson


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The government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan was published on 14 July 2021, with the initial announcement including confirmation that government will consult on a 2035 date for ending the sale of new diesel and petrol vans, and a 2040 date for ending the sale of new larger HGVs.

Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said:

“Among all the pledges being made by government and industry to help meet the net zero challenge, an end to the sale of the largest and dirtiest petrol and diesel trucks within 20 years would surely stand out as a significant step forward.

“In the same way the 2030 date for the end of new petrol and diesel car sales is focusing minds and investment, this can do the same for freight.

“It’s a welcome statement of ambition which the Commission first called for in 2019, and an unignorable signal that vehicles are turning right towards a greener future.

“We now need government to work with regulators and industry on detailed assessments of the infrastructure required for battery electric or hydrogen HGVs at depots and along major freight routes, to enable the transition.”

“In other areas like rail and aviation, the plan is strong on setting ambitious decarbonisation targets but less clear on the delivery mechanisms to meet them.

“A consistent policy environment supporting the targets will encourage investment in decarbonising these transport sectors, but in infrastructure terms these dates are not far away, and concerted delivery must begin now.”

Electric vehicles

Government also published a 2035 Delivery Plan, setting out a pathway for meeting its commitments to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and for all new cars and vans to be zero emission at the tailpipe by 2035.

Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said:

“Policy signals from government are important, and we welcome that the plan is unambiguous in its ambition to enable the end of diesel and petrol cars. The decision to legislate for all new private chargepoints to be smart is also encouraging, as it will help drive down costs for consumers.

“But the bottom line is whether, as a driver, you can feel confident that the infrastructure will be in place to enable you to switch to an electric vehicle. We need to see a charging infrastructure strategy with clear delivery commitments and milestones, promised for later this year, to give consumers that confidence.”


The Commission first recommended a ban on the sale of new diesel HGVs by 2040 at the latest in April 2019, in its report Better delivery: the challenge for freight

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