Road through forest

Ban on sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans moved from 2040 to 2030


Air Quality Plan

Three years ago Theresa May’s government published its Air Quality Plan. And that Air Quality Plan announced a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.

In the years since, the general goal has remained the same – but the dates have changed. Early in his premiership, Boris Johnson and his ministers indicated that they might prefer a deadline of 2035. They also suggested that hybrid vehicles might be included in the ban. Both of these proposals were put out to consultation in February.

Green measures announced

And now, in a way, we have a conclusion. As part of a range of green measures announced this week, the prime minister has said that the ban will actually be brought forward even further – to 2030 for fully petrol- or diesel-powered cars and vans. Sales of new hybrids will be stopped by 2035.

In truth, this closer deadline is unsurprising. The consultation document spoke of “earlier [than 2035] if a faster transition appears feasible”. Meanwhile, other countries, such as Sweden, have also been looking at similarly fast transitions.

A decade away

But the closer deadline is also challenging. 2030 is not a long time away, particularly for fleets who may only have a couple of full contract cycles between now and then. There are some big decisions on the horizon – for everyone – about the shift to electric motoring.

Other pro-EV measures

It is also a challenge for the government. Presuming that Johnson gets this deadline passed into actual law, and that subsequent governments retain it, then this is all the more reason for him to press ahead with better charging infrastructure and other pro-EV measures including;

  • £1.3 billion to accelerate the rollout of chargepoints for electric vehicles in homes, streets and on motorways across England, so people can more easily and conveniently charge their cars.
  • £582 million in grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to make them cheaper to buy and incentivise more people to make the transition.
  • Nearly £500 million to be spent in the next four years for the development and mass-scale production of electric vehicle batteries, as part of government’s commitment to provide up to £1 billion, boosting international investment into strong manufacturing bases including in the Midlands and North East.

The government will also launch a consultation on the phase out of new diesel HGVs to put the UK in the vanguard of zero emission freight. No date has been set yet.

LeasePlan’s commitment

Of course, LeasePlan is eager to reach this electric future, and soon. That’s why we are part of the Climate Group’s EV100 and have already committed to make our entire vehicle fleet zero-emission by 2030, or 2021 for our employee fleet.

But there’s no doubting that a ban on petrol and diesel sales is a big step, and for fleets it will require much forethought and preparation. If you would like to speak to a member of our team about making the switch to electric, please get in touch.



“The UK Government’s plans to bring forward the ban on new fossil fuel vehicles to 2030 are suitably ambitious, and a welcome sign that it is taking the nation’s transition to EVs seriously. However, the Government still needs to address the elephant in the room: what happens to EV supply post Brexit? We need urgent answers from the Government on what will happen to the continuity of EV supply shipments when trade tariffs are introduced. We must ensure that the UK still keeps its place at the table, otherwise we run the risk of simply not having enough vehicles to meet the demand and ultimately failing to meet our environmental obligations in the long term.

“The Government also needs to make urgent investments in EV charging infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, to ensure the switch is as frictionless as possible. This needs to happen sooner rather than later; bad experiences with charging stations early on will only serve to dissuade people from going electric, making widespread adoption even more challenging.”



Matthew Walters

Matthew Walters

Matthew Walters is Head of Consultancy Services and Customer Value at LeasePlan UK, and has been with LeasePlan for over 14 years.

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