That’s the verdict of the UK’s public spending watchdog, the National Audit Office (NAO), in its latest report, Reducing Carbon Emissions From Cars.
In November 2020, the government announced plans to stop the sale of new cars that are powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2030 while from 2035 only zero-emission cars will be allowed to be sold. By 2050 the government wants almost all cars to emit zero carbon. However, as of September 2020, only 1.1% of UK cars were ultra-low emission including 0.5% which were electric.
Assessing the government’s ambitions to decarbonise Britain’s roads, the National Audit Office (NAO) said a huge amount of work was still needed to prepare drivers and the auto market for rapid green transition, and urged Ministers to draw up a detailed roadmap with clear milestones through to 2050.
A lack of long-term certainty over the government’s plans for low emission and electric vehicles, as well as associated charging infrastructure, has “hindered investment planning”, the NAO said.
Moreover, while the government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) has provided £1.1bn in grants to encourage drivers to buy EVs and install charging points, the NAO said the agency still “cannot clearly demonstrate the cumulative impact the grant has had on the growth of ultra-low emission cars above and beyond what might have happened anyway”.
The NAO therefore urged OZEV, the Department for Transport (DfT), and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to come together to develop a long-term strategy to decarbonise road vehicles and report regularly on progress against clear milestones.
Says Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO:
“The number of ultra-low emission cars on UK roads has increased, but meeting the government’s ambitious targets to phase out new petrol and diesel cars in less than a decade still requires a major transition for consumers, carmakers and those responsible for charging infrastructure.
“Government now has the opportunity to reflect on what has gone well and better target its interventions and spending to secure this fundamental change and deliver the carbon reduction required.”
Via Business Green.