A TOTAL ban on petrol and diesel cars could be brought forward by five years to 2035 under Tory plans announced yesterday.
In a move that risks the fury of millions of motorists, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government will “look again” at the current 2040 target.
And he vowed to “thoroughly explore the case for bringing this date forward”.
He said it would put rocket-boosters under the UK’s electric car industry at the same time as protecting the environment.
It would help achieve the Government’s new legally-binding target to go carbon neutral by 2050, improve air quality and help speed-up Britain’s transition to electric cars.
The target of 2035 has been recommended by the Government’s independent advisory Committee on Climate Change.
But motorist campaigners accused the Government of pandering to environmentalists and ignoring Britain’s hard-pressed drivers.
Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, warned: “It’s sad that the Government are running scared of the ill-informed well financed Greta Thunberg evangelists.
Chris Grayling agreed to meet FairFuelUK to discuss practical proven ways to lower vehicle emissions.
“It seems his successor is falling for their emotive pressure and not understanding there’s a better way to improve air quality without hitting hard pressed drivers with draconian bans.”
Green campaigners have also called for the 2040 target to be brought forward to move England in line with Scotland.
Mr Shapps announced the new target date at the Conservative party conference in Manchester yesterday.
He said: “We must go further to protect our environment and improve our competitive edge.
“As you may know, we’ve already committed to ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
“However, if we’re to become the world-leader in green technology, we must always be looking to expand our ambitions.
“I’d therefore like to see government look again at the 2040 target, and thoroughly explore the case for bringing this date forward.
“The Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change has said 2035 is a date for which we should aim.
“We will need to test the arguments and work in partnership with industry to examine how to proceed.
“Just as we rejuvenated our automotive sector in the 1980s, we’re going to work with our pioneering car sector to help them sell the next generation of vehicles around the world.
“Providing high-skilled jobs, utilising British know-how and ending dependence of fossil fuels.”