Press release: 27 March 2019

Business wants government support to boost zero emission vehicles

The UK Government could fuel a boom in businesses using zero emission vehicles with simple policy changes, a new industry survey suggests.

The YouGov poll of those responsible for managing fleets of vehicles, which was commissioned by ClientEarth, showed businesses eager to switch to cleaner vehicles with government help.

More than two thirds (70%) of those questioned also backed stricter pollution limits, based on guidelines from the World Health Organisation.

ClientEarth Business Engagement Co-Ordinator Dominic Phinn said: “This shows clearly there are a number of policy levers the government could pull that would jump-start the switch to cleaner vehicles by businesses.

“The effect on air quality in our towns and cities could be transformative, but the government is standing in the way of meaningful progress. We need clean air policies from the Treasury, which in the past has blocked proposed measures to cut pollution.

“We also welcome business support for enshrining WHO limits into UK law. The forthcoming environment bill is the perfect opportunity for this.”

The survey revealed:

  • 75 per cent agree with phasing out the existing stock of diesel vehicles from the road in order to protect people’s health – with more than half saying there should be help and support to enable this to happen.
  • 84 per cent agree that having encouraged people to buy diesel vehicles the government has a moral obligation to help them switch to cleaner forms of transport
  • 72 per cent of people questioned would be more likely to purchase zero emission vehicles if the Plug-In Car Grant was increased from £3,500 to £7,000.
  • 71 per cent of people questioned would be more likely to purchase zero emission vehicles if there was a 100% VAT rebate for new zero emission vehicles.
  • More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of those questioned agreed obligations should be imposed on automotive manufacturers to require a minimum percentage of car production, import and/or sales in the UK to be zero emission vehicles.
  • 71 per cent of people questioned would be more likely to purchase zero emission vehicles if an interest-free loan was available as it is in Scotland to purchase a zero emission vehicle.


Notes to editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 368 UK automotive industry stakeholders which comprised 308 individuals with company car decision-making responsibilities, 30 fleet managers and 30 senior members of staff at automotive companies. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th December 2018 and 28th January 2019. The survey was carried out online.

About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. We believe the law is a tool for positive change. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.