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Britain will ban petrol-powered motorcycles

The British government plans to ban the sale of new petrol-powered motorcycles. From 2035 all new motorcycles must be zero emission.

Craig Carey-Clinch from the UK National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) tells the full story:

The British government published its Transport Decarbonisation Plan. Although plans to end production of new internal combustion engined cars had already been proposed for 2030, this is the first time that specific proposals have been made for new motorcycle production. There will be soon be a consultation on ‘a phase out date of 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible, for the sale of new non-zero emission powered two and three wheelers (and other L category vehicles)’.

In the plan the Department for Transport goes on to say: ‘Zero emission motorcycles and other powered two wheelers are an efficient and clean form of mobility that can reduce congestion, improve urban air quality and reduce noise – we will take forward measures to remove these emissions, including consulting on a date to end the sale of new non-zero emission motorbikes, ensuring we support the development of new industrial opportunities for the UK. While cars and vans outnumber motorcycles on UK roads, motorcycles are an important and sizeable vehicle population, with 1.4 million licensed in 2020 and we do not want to see them remaining fossil fuelled as the rest of the vehicle fleet cleans up’

The plan also announces a further £582 million for ‘plug in’car, van. taxi and motorcycle grants to reduce the cost of zero emission vehicles and announces a strategic partnership between Zemo (formerly the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership) and the Motor Cycle Industry Association to ‘stimulate and coordinate activity’.

‘There is some way to go before zero emission products will be available at a cost, specification and battery range that can encompass the needs of riders’

Craig Carey-Clinch, NMC Executive Director said: “This landmark announcement marks a fundamental change to the nature of motorcycling as we know it and is not unexpected given the recent announcement for zero emission car production. The implications for motorcycling are profound and the NMC will be playing a full part in the forthcoming consultation on the proposed phase out date for new petrol powered motorcycle production.”

“We note that the Government recognises the congestion benefits of motorcycling in general in the Plan and notes that motorcycles are an ‘important and sizable’ part of the vehicle fleet. The NMC urges the DfT to do more to recognise this and the lower polluting and cost saving benefits of current ICE motorcycles in its wider current transport policies. Particularly as the motorcycles, scooters and mopeds of today already play an important part in reducing emissions from road transport.”

“Although zero emission motorcycles are increasing their market share in the lower powered commuter end of the market and there are opportunities for the electrification of certain types of motorcycling activity right now, there is clearly some way to go before zero emission products will be available at a cost, specification and battery range that can encompass the needs of riders across the entire motorcycle range and for the diversity of reasons that people ride. Measures to encourage rider training and education to raise awareness of the new technologies will also be required.”

“We can appreciate why the Government will wish to lay a target date as this will create focus. But this ambition may need flexibility if market and economic ‘shocks’ in the motorcycle sector are to be avoided in the event that both technology and market acceptability does not meet rider expectations by 2035. Government will need to be sensitive to this and also to the views of those who ride today – not just focus on tomorrow.”

Source: National Motorcyclists Council

National Motorcyclists Council members are: The Auto Cycle Union, the British Motorcyclists Federation, IAM RoadSmart, the Motorcycle Action Group and the Trail Riders Fellowship.

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