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‘Limit scrappage scheme to EVs only’


26 June 2020

Transport academics and consultants have told ministers to only make zero emission vehicles eligible for purchase under a possible car scrappage scheme.   

Their letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak and transport secretary Grant Shapps cites media reports of the car industry lobbying for a scheme encompassing hybrids or other fossil fuel vehicles. 

“As transport academics and professionals we urge you to resist that lobbying and to restrict the scheme to zero emission vehicles only. We would also recommend incentives to encourage purchase of electric bikes and mopeds/scooters, which would be affordable to more people.”

They note the consultation on phasing out new petrol and diesel cars by “2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible”. 

“The secretary of state has indicated the Government is considering a phase-out date of 2032. We believe – and have evidence – that even that date would be too late. Recent analyses have shown the UK’s legal requirement to achieve net zero by 2050 would be insufficient to comply with the Paris Agreement... Kevin Anderson et al. (2020) estimate developed countries including the UK would have to achieve net zero by 2035 to 2040. 

“The Climate Change Act allows for targets to be revised in line with scientific advice, which has produced worsening forecasts since the Paris Agreement was signed. In these circumstances, the Government should impose an earlier date to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles and avoid the waste of public money which would occur if one government department were to subsidise the purchase of vehicles which another government department was seeking to phase out.”

The letter has been co-ordinated by Steve Melia, a senior lecturer in transport and planning at the University of the West of England. Other signatories include Graham Parkhurst and John Parkin (UWE); Phil Goodwin (UCL); Tom Cohen (Westminster); Geoff Vigar (Newcastle). Non-academic signatories include: Ian Taylor of Transport for Quality of Life; Lucy Marstrand-Taussig, a Transport Planning Society board member; Laurence Oakes-Ash and Alex Dawn of City Science; and Nik Bowyer of AECOM.

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