Reports are emerging of a potential shift in the UK Government’s environmental agenda, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reportedly considering changes to key green policies, sparking concerns and discussions.
Among the potential revisions is a reconsideration of the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, originally slated for implementation by 2030 – a commitment in place since 2020.
Another noteworthy change under consideration involves a less aggressive approach to phasing out gas boilers, potentially extending the timeline beyond the initial target of 2035.
Greenpeace UK’s Policy Director Doug Parr said: “Rowing back on home insulation and commitments to help people move away from gas will ensure we stay at the mercy of volatile fossil fuels and exploitative energy companies.”
Jess Ralston, Head of Energy at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit said: “Delaying the transition to electric vehicles means fewer, cheaper-to-run second-hand cars. The phaseout of gas boilers wasn’t due to kick in for another 12 years and then only when boilers broke.
“All of this would leave us more dependent on foreign oil and gas, less energy independent and with investors spooked, putting jobs in the industries of the future in jeopardy.”
Dr Ashok Sinha, the Chief Executive Officer of Ashden, a climate solutions charity, expressed that if the Prime Minister were to deliberately undermine the UK economy, this would be the method of choice.
Dr Sinha said: “Putting us into the slow lane in the race to net zero will only scare off investors, damage our credibility with business and put the brakes on the climate innovation that we see growing in SMEs and communities across the country.”
Chris Hewett, Chief Executive of the trade association Solar Energy UK, said: “Across the world, businesses in US, China, EU, India and beyond are in a global race to lead in the energy transition to renewables, electric vehicles and decarbonised heat, all of which will cut the cost of living for ordinary people.
“If Rishi Sunak really wants to put the brakes on the UK’s position in this race, it is an economic misjudgement of historic proportions. It is evidence of a leader who is out of touch with the needs of UK plc, as well as energy consumers.”