The Committee on Climate Change says that the Government must seize the opportunity presented by the Covid-19 disruption into a defining moment in the fight against climate change. In its annual report to Parliament, the Committee sets out, for the first time, recommendations for actions for each department of government. For road transport, the CCC calls for the full phase-out of petrol and diesel cars, vans and, now, motorcycles too, by 2032 or earlier, and for stronger incentives, plans and clean air zones, to encourage progress in freight vehicles.
The Committee says that important steps have been taken in the last year, but much remains to be done.
It outlines the "urgent steps that must be taken in the months ahead to initiate a green, resilient COVID-19 recovery. They can be delivered through strong coordination across Whitehall".
CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, said: “The UK is facing its biggest economic shock for a generation. Meanwhile, the global crisis of climate change is accelerating. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address these urgent challenges together; it’s there for the taking.
"The steps that the UK takes to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic can accelerate the transition to a successful and low-carbon economy and improve our climate resilience. Choices that lock in emissions or climate risks are unacceptable.”
In its new report, the Committee highlights five clear investment priorities in the months ahead including the recommendation that energy networks must be strengthened for the net-zero energy transformation in order to support the electrification of transport and heating.
It says that: "Fast-tracked electric vehicle charging points will hasten the move towards a full phase out of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032 or earlier".
It calls for investment in Infrastructure to make it easy for people to walk, cycle, and work remotely including dedicated safe spaces for walking and cycling, more bike parking and support for shared bikes and e-scooters.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee and Philip Dunne, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), have written to the Chancellor warning that time is running out to ‘avert an even greater future global crisis caused by climate change’. They stress that the UK’s post-COVID economic recovery package should be used as an opportunity to accelerate investment on climate adaptation and cutting emissions to net zero.