UK Government ban on new petrol & diesel vehicles – what do you think?

If you’ve read the news recently then you have no doubt heard the UK Government’s latest knee-jerk reaction to something that they hope will take our minds off of other disasters is a ban on new fossil-fuel vehicle sales from 2030. The story of the ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’ (for that indeed is what the Government are calling this!) went live on 18 November 2020 and caught our eyes… causing them to roll heavenwards…

The first thing British readers of this blog should know is that the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has received “confirmation that motorcycles are ‘not in scope’ for 2030 end of sale of petrol and diesel vehicles.” In a statement MAG published soon after, they said, “The position on motorcycles is not mentioned in the announcement.  MAG therefore contacted the DfT for clarification.  We received confirmation that motorcycles are not in scope of today’s announcement regarding the ending of sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans.

“The Department contact went on to say that there are no timeframes for ending the sale of petrol/diesel motorcycles. Further, should the department wish to make such an announcement, they will consult first with the Motorcycle Action Group and its members.”

So firstly, big thanks to MAG for being on the ball and making it known in Westminster that those who ride powered two-wheelers have a voice that wants to be listened to. After all, no one in the Government or indeed Transport for London seems to consider us these days, especially when we all know that riding scooter or motorbike is the best option when it comes to beating traffic congestion and covering distance in the absence of public transport (or at least over-crowded public transport).

Apparently the Government’s decision in their Ten Point Plan… to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles has been brought forward from an original date of 2040.

One can’t help thinking what a load of rubbish it does contain however. I’ve nothing against green ideas and making the world a better place to live. When it comes to hugging trees then get in the queue behind me. However, at a time when more and more people are working from home rather than commuting to jobs, why are the government pushing ahead with HS2, a high speed rail link that is taking far longer than planned and costing way too much, not to say destroying vast amounts of ancient woodland, natural beauty and green belt. Hardly in line with point 9 of Boris’ plan which states, “Nature: Protecting and restoring our natural environment, planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year, whilst creating and retaining thousands of jobs.”

(Image by Jonathan Buckmaster)

Interesting too that while I have a number of friends who drive lorries for a living, there is no doubting that HGVs are still clogging up many towns and cities, some supermarket sites apparently receiving multiple deliveries per day. As I’ve suggested before, railways (even old canals) make perfect sense for transporting goods around the country to distribution depots and warehouses where with a little thought, a fleet of smaller, electric vehicles could make localised deliveries. That idea rings a bell mind you…


(Photo by Iggy)

As someone who has tested electric powered two-wheelers (the above electric conversion of a classic Vespa by Retrospective Scooters of London was tested in edition 9 of ScooterNova magazine), and also helped with R&D work for a company some years ago, I know that the biggest issue is battery capacity and charge time. Do the Government really think that in nine years from now they can not only advance the technology required for an electric car or van to to perform the same as a petrol or diesel version does now, as well as create the infrastructure to recharge them all too? The sale of extra long extension leads for those living in flats and tower blocks could be worth an investment…

Any while jobs will no doubt be created while trying to implement such a network, what will the damage be to those involved in the car and van industry as we know it today? Sales? Mechanics? Engine lubricants? Petrol stations? The latter of course causes concerns for those of us who still plan to use petrol-powered vehicles long after 2030 has been and gone, a short ride into town on my 50 year old scooter no doubt still with a smaller carbon footprint than a brand new electric all-electric Porsche Taycan sports car (weighing in at 2.8 tons Gross Vehicle Weight according to Top Gear’s review of the 4-door version), let alone those produced halfway around the world containing rare minerals mined from goodness knows where. Will we still be able to buy fuel and at what price? And at what stage will the Government decide that culling us all will be better for them in the short term than maybe trying to persuade their various party funders to to their bit on an industrial scale?

Piaggio recently launched their Ape electric fleet in India,


Which leads us nicely onto another recent story in the papers, that of plans to introduce road charging, or ‘pay per mile’ here in the UK. Could this be the Government suddenly realising that if they continue to give away free or reduced rate VED for those with ‘electric’ or ‘hybrid’ vehicles (despite the fact an electric SUV will do more damage to the actual roads than a 125kg 125cc scooter) then they’ll have rather large hole in their budget?

Like milk floats, many of you may also remember the days when it wasn’t Vehicle Excise Duty but the Tax Disc you bought annually was a Road Fund Licence, to fund the upkeep of the roads.

I’m not saying I’ve got the answers or solutions, but I am suggesting that there does appear to be some concern for many on the horizon. Soon the roads could be full of extremely large electric powered 4x4s, creating potholes and ruts everywhere and paying very little for the privilege. Meanwhile those of us taking up very little little space whatsoever will be desperately trying to avoid this holes on our old scooters while on an expedition in search of a rare fuel known as petrol. And paying per mile to find it…


** ScooterNova is an independent scooter magazine, published in the UK by scooterists for scooterists. Available in all good scooter shops, on subscription and via mail-order, the brand new edition 22 is published on 1 November 2020. For more information and to visit our online shop, please go to