Britain will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030, five years earlier than previously planned, as part of what Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls a “green revolution” to cut emissions to net zero by 2050.
Mr Johnson, who is grappling with Europe’s most deadly COVID-19 crisis, Brexit trade negotiations and the departure of his most senior adviser, wants to underscore his green credentials as part of what he hopes will be a reset for his government.
“Now is the time to plan for a green recovery with high-skilled jobs that give people the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to make the country cleaner, greener and more beautiful,” Mr Johnson said in a column published in the Financial Times on Tuesday.
Britain last year became the first G7 country to set in law a net-zero emission target by 2050, which will require wholesale changes in the way Britons travel, use energy and eat.
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In total the plan would mobilise £12 billion ($22 billion) of government money, with as much as three times that amount coming from the private sector, and create and support 250,000 highly skilled green jobs by 2030, Mr Johnson said.
The new date for a ban on new petrol and diesel cars is five years earlier than the 2035 pledge made by Mr Johnson in February.
The sale of hybrid cars and vans would be banned from 2035 under the new plan.
Mr Johnson, who has promised to increase Britain’s offshore wind power to 40 gigawatts by 2030 from around 10 GW now, pledged up to £500 million ($909 million) for projects trialling the use of hydrogen including for home heating and cooking.
The government would also help to develop large and small scale nuclear plants.
Mr Johnson’s plan was broadly welcomed by industry.
“It gives a springboard to the huge opportunities for UK-wide investment and green jobs that a true low-carbon economy can bring,” Josh Hardie, acting director at the Confederation of British Industry, said in a separate statement.