The UK is a world leader on reducing carbon emissions that are causing global warming. We are on course to reach Net Zero by 2050 and have over-delivered on our targets, with the fastest reduction in emissions in the G7, down almost 50% since 1990. By contrast, China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon emissions, plans to keep raising emissions to a peak in 2030 before starting to reduce.
However, cost of living pressures and energy security cannot be ignored. We need to take people with us as we pursue the remaining hurdles to reach Net Zero and ease the burden on working people. I welcome that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has set out a new, pragmatic, proportionate and realistic approach to do this.
This pragmatic approach will ease the transition to electric vehicles and heat pumps, so that people will not have to make changes until 2035, while increasing grants for heat pumps by 50%. The government are also scrapping onerous energy efficiency requirements and will not introduce any new taxes on flying, something which could otherwise disproportionately hit Crawley’s economy.
While eco zealots will claim the UK is somehow not being serious in reducing carbon emissions, it is worth stating that the moving of the date from 2030 to 2035 to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, actually brings the UK into line with the EU. It does not stop anyone purchasing an electric vehicle and their sales are rising each year, but it does allow a more reasonable time period for both industry and drivers to switch.
I particularly welcome the honesty and straight talking from the government who are being properly transparent about the choices involved, putting the long-term interests of the country before short-term political advantage. It is very easy to say we can have it all on tackling global warming without any pain, when the reality is very different. By having a more measured approach with punitive measures being less front-loaded, it allows technologies to become cheaper and more affordable and will help increase support for our country’s Net Zero journey.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
27th September 2023