Labour 'would reverse Rishi's Net Zero u-turn,' Shadow Environment Secretary confirms

20 September 2023, 19:46 | Updated: 20 September 2023, 21:02

Rishi Sunak announced a major change in the government's net zero policy on Wednesday
Rishi Sunak announced a major change in the government's net zero policy on Wednesday. Picture: Getty

By Ben Kentish and Kieran Kelly

Labour would reverse Rishi Sunak's 'U-turn' on the sale of petrol and diesel cars, the Shadow Environment Secretary has confirmed.

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The prime minister announced today the ban would come into place in 2035, five years later than originally planned, though insisted the government remains committed to becoming net zero by 2050.

Labour's shadow environment secretary said his party would reverse Mr Sunak's decision if they are elected in next year's general election.

“We would because that is what industry has been geared up for, that’s what we have to do if we want to meet our Net Zero targets and if we want to lower the costs of driving," he told LBC.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Getty
Labour would reverse Mr Sunak's policy
Labour would reverse Mr Sunak's policy. Picture: Getty

As well as pushing back the ban on petrol and diesel cars, the government will give people 'far more time' to change over to heat pumps in their homes.

“We’ll never force anyone to rip out their existing heat pump... You’ll only have to make the switch when you’re replacing your boiler anyway, and even then, not until 2035," he said.

Read More: PM's green 'U-turn' as he delays ban on sale of new petrol and diesel cars - but there's a boost for boiler upgrades

Read More: Andrew Marr: Rishi Sunak has found a ‘target to attack’ in net zero 'U-turn' but risks alienating others

The move has caused uproar among those in the Conservative party, including former energy minister Chris Skidmore, who told LBC: "There's a complete lack of certainty, clarity, and consistency over the UK's Net Zero pathway."

Tory peer Zac Goldsmith - who resigned over Mr Sunak's "apathy for the environment" - called for a snap election in the wake of the policy announcement.

Meanwhile, those on the right of the Tory party, including former prime minister Liz Truss, have backed Mr Sunak's major policy shift.

John Cauldwell ponders on switching to Labour following Net Zero rollback

Labour's commitment to reversing Mr Sunak's policy shows a clear dividing line between the two major parties when it comes to the environment.

Labour has already signalled it would block new North Sea oil and gas developments as part of Keir Starmer's plan to make UK a 'clean energy superpower'.

The Tories, on the other hand, have approved more oil and gas licences to drill for fossil fuels in the North Sea.

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