Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the REA (Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology), has expressed scepticism about the revised plan, suggesting that it may be designed to appeal to specific political bases in advance of party conferences and elections.
Dr Skorupska emphasised the importance of maintaining consistent policies to support households in the energy transition.
Critics argue that the delay in setting clear and stable targets for electric vehicles (EVs) and heat pumps, considered essential for achieving net zero emissions, raises questions about the government’s commitment to a greener energy future.
Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Philip Dunne expressed disappointment over the delay in the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, attributing it to the global consensus among major car manufacturing nations.
Mr Dunne noted that the shift towards EVs, led primarily by fleet buyers, is progressing faster than anticipated and urged the government to ensure the ban’s date does not further slip.
Dunne also called for accelerated efforts to enhance the charging infrastructure.
Emma Pinchbeck, Chief Executive of Energy UK, criticised the sudden policy changes, highlighting their damaging effect on the investment required for the transition to net zero.
Ms Pinchbeck said: “Businesses need certainty and stability when making long-term investments worth billions of pounds and targets help provide exactly that.
“That way businesses can invest, innovate and bring down the costs of low-carbon technologies that we need to adopt like heat pumps and EVs – exactly as they have been doing.
“As recently as yesterday, Ministers were stressing their continuing commitment to these policies – so it’s alarming for companies considering UK investments in these areas when these same policies are shelved the next day.”
Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, underlined the importance of policy and regulatory stability for attracting infrastructure investments, which play a vital role in the transition to a low carbon future.
Baroness Parminter, Chair of the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee, expressed dismay over the changes, particularly the delay in targets for EVs and heat pumps.
Baroness Parminter said: “Given a third of all emission reductions required by 2035 need to come from individuals and households adopting new technologies, choosing low carbon products or services and reducing carbon-intensive consumption it is hard to see how our legally-binding carbon targets will now be met.”
Stew Horne, Head of Policy at Energy Saving Trust, expressed disappointment over the delay in green targets and emphasised the economic benefits of policies supporting energy-efficient homes and renewable energy adoption.
Mr Horne commented: “As the climate emergency escalates, now is the time for scaling up ambition and action to provide industry and public confidence and bring down costs. Now is not the time to backtrack on targets and risk behind left behind whilst the rest of the world is making the just transition to net zero.”
Lauren Pamma, Director of Transport Programmes at the Green Finance Institute, warned that rolling back on the 2030 petrol and diesel car sales ban could damage the UK’s international investment credibility, potentially causing investors to seek more stable markets.
Simon Virley, Vice Chair and Head of Energy and Natural Resources at KPMG, highlighted the necessity of stable, long term policies to attract large scale investments in future industries.
Virley cautioned that ongoing uncertainty could hinder the UK’s ability to compete globally for green investments.
He said: “The risk now is that the UK will continue to fall behind in the global race for green investment and our homegrown businesses will lose out.”