The Prime Minister confirmed the move in a speech from Downing Street on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Sunak insisted he was acting to avoid a public “backlash” by watering down efforts to tackle the climate crisis. He said a “new approach” was needed given the costs involved for households up and down the country.
However, Mr Sunak insisted he was standing by the legally binding goal of hitting net zero by 2050 despite making changes
Many commentators though were left disappointed by the news:
Lisa Brankin, Ford UK Chair said:
“Three years ago the government announced the UK’s transition to electric new car and van sales from 2030. The auto industry is investing to meet that challenge.
“Ford has announced a global $50 billion commitment to electrification, launching nine electric vehicles by 2025. The range is supported by £430 million invested in Ford’s UK development and manufacturing facilities, with further funding planned for the 2030 timeframe.
“This is the biggest industry transformation in over a century and the UK 2030 target is a vital catalyst to accelerate Ford into a cleaner future. Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment and consistency.
“A relaxation of 2030 undermines all three. We need the policy focus trained on bolstering the EV market in the short term and supporting consumers while headwinds are strong: infrastructure remains
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:
“The automotive industry has and continues to invest billions in new electric vehicles as the decarbonisation of road transport is essential if net zero is to be delivered. Government has played a key part in bringing some of that investment to the UK, and Britain can – and should – be a leader in zero-emission mobility both as a manufacturer and market
“To make this a reality, however, consumers must want to make the switch, which requires from Government a clear, consistent message, attractive incentives and charging infrastructure that gives confidence rather than anxiety. Confusion and uncertainty will only hold them back.”
Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy, said:
“Weakening the government’s green targets risks endangering the business investment that consumers need to play their part in tackling climate change.
“Which? research has shown a majority of consumers are concerned about climate change and recognise their role to reduce their own impact. We welcome the increased grants for heat pumps but this needs to be delivered alongside firm targets that give businesses the confidence they need to invest.
“Consumers need businesses to continue investing in new low-carbon products and services, so the transition is as affordable and easy as possible. That includes the continued development of electric vehicles and improvement of the EV charging infrastructure, as well as ramping up the manufacture of clean heating systems and the training of new installers of those systems and insulation measures.”