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The UK is planning to bring forward its ban on new fossil fuel vehicles from 2040 to 2030, in aid to speed up the rollout of electric vehicles across British roads. It is believed Boris Johnson is expected to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles this autumn with an announcement, it is understood that the mass number of new electric vehicles will help the UK trigger a green economic recovery from COVID-19.

The government has previously consulted on plans to bring forward the deadline on sales of new polluting vehicles from 2040 to 2035. However, it is now expected to take a more ambitious perspective following guarantees that the UK’s infrastructure will be ready to handle with the shift to electric cars.

The decision to end the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 would put the UK ahead of France, which has a 2040 ban in the pipeline, and in line with Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.

The plan, which is backed by the government’s official advisers at the Committee on Climate Change, is expected to emerge alongside the national plans to become a carbon-neutral economy by the middle of the century.

The minister for clean energy, confirmed last month that the long-awaited energy white paper, which will underpin the government’s legally binding target to create a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, would be published this autumn after several delays.

It is scheduled to be released next month and is expected to follow the advice set out by the Committee on Climate Change, including support for the UK’s nascent clean hydrogen industry to help cut carbon emissions from homes and heavy industry.

The National Grid estimates that electrifying all road transport, aside from heavy goods vehicles, would require less than a third more energy than Great Britain’s current demand of around 300 terawatt hours “which the grid could easily cope with”, according to Graeme Cooper, the director in charge of National Grid’s electric vehicle project.

At peak electricity demand periods, such as the early evening, the grid may see demand for electricity climb by 10% if drivers “switched to electric vehicles overnight”, he said. “However, some targeted investment will be needed to ensure there are appropriate places where drivers can access sufficient high-power charging away from home.”

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