You are here
Home > FEMA news > The UK wants to ban the sale of new fossil fuelled motorcycles from 2035

The UK wants to ban the sale of new fossil fuelled motorcycles from 2035

‘It is important that motorcycles do not remain fossil fuelled as the rest of the transport fleet cleans up’, according to Trudy Harrison MP, Minister of State for Transport for the United Kingdom.

The government of the United Kingdom has launched an open consultation, called ‘L-category vehicles: ending sales of new non-zero emission models’. In that consultation the government announces a sales ban for new non-zero emission motorcycles from 2035.

To be clear: with the consultation the British government is seeking opinions as to when the UK should stop the sale of new non-zero emission L-category vehicles, not if they should stop selling them.

The government clearly states: “While cars and vans vastly outnumber motorcycles on UK roads, motorcycles are an important and sizeable vehicle population, with 1.3 million currently licensed in 2021. We do not want to see them remaining fossil-fuelled as the rest of our vehicles clean up.” According to the UK government, non-zero emission vehicles produce harmful exhaust air emissions while driving, including greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, and pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide.

The government has already committed to the below phase out dates:

  • 2030 for new cars and vans that run solely on petrol or diesel
  • 2035 for new non-zero emission cars and vans
  • 2035 for new non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles weighing 26 tonnes and under
  • 2040 for all new non-zero emission road vehicles

The government now proposes the following dates to stop the sale of new non-zero emission models:

  • 2035 for all L-category vehicles at the latest (two- and three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles)
  • 2030 for L1, L2, L3e-A1, L6 and L7 sub-category vehicles (click here for an explanation of the categories)
Trudy Harrison MP (photo:

Trudy Harrison MP, Minister of State for Transport: “We have already committed to phasing out fossil fuel use across road transport, with sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans ending as early as 2030; all new cars, vans and trucks of 26 tonnes and under being zero emission by 2035; and 2040 as a backstop for all new road vehicles. It is therefore important that L-category vehicles do not remain fossil fuelled as the rest of the transport fleet cleans up.”

The minister continues: “Zero emission L-category vehicles don’t just offer us a vital reduction in CO 2 emissions; they open up a future where our roads are less congested, and air and noise pollution are reduced across our local communities. I stress that this consultation is not about imposing restrictions; it is about addressing the climate change challenge and creating energy independence, providing certainty to industry and consumers, and ensuring the creation of a zero emission L-category industry fit for the 21st Century and beyond.”

The consultation period began on 14 July 2022 and will run until 21 September 2022.

Jim Freeman, Chairman of the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) said: “The BMF will oppose any proposals to ban the use of motorcycles powered by internal combustion engines while such vehicles are still capable of being run. We also oppose a ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine-powered motorcycles while there is the possibility of providing alternatives to fossil fuel and while the electric vehicle charging infrastructure does not adequately support electric motorcycles.”

Jim goes on: “The BMF supports a technology-neutral approach to powering new motorcycles; we do not accept that electric battery technology is the only approach. The BMF, as a consequence, opposes the proposed ban in ICE bikes, for the forceable future, until the above criteria have been met, whatever date has been targeted, 2030, 2035, 2050. The government has agreed to follow a technology neutral approach to new motorcycle powerplants but appear to have unilaterally decided that battery electric is the only option. This is unacceptable.”

The British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) is a non-profit organisation run by elected volunteers, providing motorcyclists with a voice through specialist lobbyists and a network of volunteers across the UK. The BMF is a member of FEMA.

Neil Liversidge, Chairman of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), said: “MAG totally opposes the proposed ban on the sale of internal combustion-engine vehicles, whether it be from 2035, the originally mooted 2040, or any other date. MAG likewise opposes any policy that leads to increased fuel costs or the reduced availability of fuels for internal combustion-engine vehicles.”

MAG’s director of campaigns & political engagement, Colin Brown, said: “We have already made representations to the Department’s decarbonisation team over the last year. Officials are constrained by the existing Net Zero policy and its timetables. These are clearly beyond the scope of this consultation. We need to take dialogue to a much more strategic level in order to properly represent the strength of feeling on this issue. We do not expect this to be an easy discussion, but we would be failing the trust of our members by not taking this course of action. MAG plans to respond robustly to the consultation. Additionally, MAG is seeking direct representation with Government Ministers, despite the current leadership race. If necessary, MAG will demand to speak to the new Prime Minister.”

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is a volunteer led riders’ rights organisation that has been building in strength and diversity since it began in 1973. MAG campaigns to protect and promote motorcycling and the interests and rights of all riders, from learner to advanced. MAG is a member of FEMA.

NMC Executive Director Craig Carey-Clinch said: “The Government’s ambitions in this area are clearly running ahead of what may be reasonable to deliver. Successful transition in any field requires those affected to be content with changes proposed. In the case of zero emission motorcycles, particularly in the premium market segments, current product availability, price point, the current state of electric bike technology and rider acceptability, suggests that much more will need to happen before a reasonable target date for full zero emission new production can be established. It is not yet known whether manufacturing can meet these proposed targets with a range of motorcycle types which will have broad market appeal among riders, given the wide diversity of rider requirements and activities across the sector. One of the knock-on effects of these concerns is scepticism among sections of the motorcycling public about the electrification of motorcycles. This should not be brushed aside by the Government. Rider opinions must not be ignored in the rush to decarbonise.”

Craig continues: “The NMC is also disappointed that the Government sees alternative fuels as only a steppingstone to full electrification. This is not the technology neutrality the Government claims to have. The move towards net zero is a matter which is too technologically detailed to restrict it to battery electrification only. Imposing specific technologies means limiting choice and therefore creating a constraint on innovation. Automotive manufacturers (and the aviation industry) are making significant investments in developing synthetic fuels which have the potential to allow ICE technology to continue while being part of the move towards decarbonisation. Other technologies such as hydrogen powered vehicles are also part of the development of new technologies.”

The National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) is a coalition of British motorcycling representative organisations who work together on commonly held positions about issues where motorcyclists seek to change or influence government policy. The NMC is a partner of FEMA.

Written by Wim Taal

Sources: UK Government,BMF, MAG, NMC.

Top photograph courtesy of

This article is subject to FEMA’s copyright