Government confirms 2030 fossil fuel car sales ban as it touts new £20m EV funding package

More than £90m to support floating offshore wind, energy storage, and biomass has also been confirmed following last week’s Budget

A £20m research and development (R&D) competition to fund “the most promising electric vehicle (EV) technology innovations”, has been announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) as it today confirmed  fossil fuel cars and vans would as expected be banned from sale in the UK by 2030.

The funding, allocated through the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), is aimed at supporting the government’s aim to phase out all sales of fossil fuelled and hybrid cars by 2035, and could help create around 6,000 skilled jobs over the next decade, DfT claimed.

Potential projects eligible for support could include efforts to improve battery recycling, boost EV range capability, increase electric van uptake, and expand access to off-street residential charging, it added.

The announcement came as the government published its response to its consultation on ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars, confirming plans to phase out new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030, and to also ban sales of plug-in hybrid cars by 2035, effectively ensuring the entire UK fleet transitions to fully electric vehicles over the coming decades.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the new funding would “help harness some of the brightest talent in the UK tech industry, encouraging businesses to become global leaders in EV innovation, creating jobs and accelerating us towards our net zero ambitions”.

“Investing in innovation is crucial in decarbonising transport, which is why I’m delighted to see creative zero emission projects across the UK come to life,” he said.

The news came as the government also confirmed a suite of new innovation funding competitions backed by a combined £92m of investment to support energy storage, floating offshore wind power, and sustainable biomass production projects, as trailed by in last week’s Budget announcement.

The funding forms part of the government’s £1bn net zero innovation programme, and is aimed at supporting clean tech developers to drive forward the next generation of technologies to help the UK transition towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, it said.

Up to £68m has been earmarked for the energy storage R&D competition in support of the UK’s growing shift to intermittent forms of renewable power, while £20m has been earmarked to help support floating offshore wind, and £4m will go towards increasing the production of sustainable sourced biomass energy feedstock in the UK.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget last week was greeted with disappointment by much of the green economy, with analysts arguing it largely failed to deliver on high hopes the Treasury could deliver a major green stimulus package.

However, Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the funding competitions confirmed today would allow the government to “develop new ways of unlocking the potential for green energy as we continue, making big strides towards our goal or eradicating our contribution to climate change by 2050”.

“The UK’s energy innovators have been vital to us becoming a world-leader in clean green technology, helping us to go further and faster as we tackle climate change,” she added.

In further green funding news, Defra has also launched the second round of the £40m Green Recovery Challenge Fund, offering grants of up to £2m each to environmental charities and their partners across England to boost jobs while restoring nature and tackling climate change.

The first round of the Fund saw 68 projects secure backing in November to help kick-start projects involving the likes of nature-based solutions, nature restoration, climate mitigation and adaptation, and connecting people with nature.

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