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Will the UK reach its Net Zero goals by 2050 and what will it mean for transport?

By law, the UK must reach net zero by 2050.The government acknowledge the need to improve air quality, noise pollution, health costs and congestion caused by the millions of petrol and diesel vehicles.

After COP26, a global goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C was set. This means governments need to take action quickly.

Net Zero by 2050

The UK is committed to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. Of UK’s greenhouse emissions, 27% come from transport and 55% of those emissions come from cars.

The government has developed a ten point plan with £12 billion investment to make the UK a “global leader in green technologies”.

What does this mean for vehicles?

A key part of this plan is the shift to zero emission vehicles and public transport. The Department of Transport’s report ‘Decarbonising Transport’ states that work towards a net zero transport system in the UK is “already underway”.

The report shows figures demonstrating that registrations of fully zero emission vehicles in the UK tripled from 2019 to 2020, bringing the total to over 500,000.

However, this report still recognising the mammoth journey yet to come before we reach net zero. There has been a growth in the number of petrol and diesel SUVs and an increase in the number of journeys taken, which could cancel out the effects of increasing the UKs hybrid and electric fleet.

In May, the Department for Transport stated:

More than a quarter of a million EVs now travel on UK roads and sales of plug-in vehicles have reached all-time highs, with 327,000 registered last year alone – a 77% rise compared to 2020.”

These figures show that the transport revolution in the UK I “well underway”. This good news considering the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in just 8 years!

The government hopes to combat ‘range anxiety’ by increasing the number of public charging points, reaching 300,000 by 2030. Ex-Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, “With a £2.5 billion cash injection, the UK continues to be a global front-runner in the switch to electric vehicles – helping drivers to save money on fuel while moving towards our net zero targets.”


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