Kemi Badenoch pushes back over electric vehicle mandate in latest Tory net zero row

Kemi Badenoch is pushing back on the government’s plan to fine car manufacturers if they don’t meet electric vehicle targets, Sky News understands.

As part of ministers’ attempts to reach net zero by 2050, they are introducing a so-called zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate.

As a result, UK makers will need to ensure at least 22% of the cars they sell are electric vehicles by 2024, with the figure increasing to 80% in 2030 and 100% in 2035.

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If a company misses the target, they will be made to pay the government £15,000 for every vehicle that doesn’t comply.

The measure has been criticised by a number of manufacturers, which claim the policy will threaten their businesses.

It doesn’t have the support of the business and trade secretary either – as first reported by Politico – with a government source telling Sky News they didn’t believe the ZEV mandate would go ahead in its current form.

Ms Badenoch is understood to be seeking to persuade colleagues to join her dissent on the policy at a time when a debate is raging with the Conservative Party about its net zero plans.

The party managed to secure a narrow victory in a by-election last month by exploiting local opposition to the roll-out of a clean air scheme, and since then, numerous climate commitments appear to be up for debate.

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Oil drilling ‘consistent with net zero plan’

A number of backbench MPs have called on Rishi Sunak to scrap the 2030 ban on selling petrol and diesel cars, while Housing Secretary Michael Gove has hinted at relaxing an energy efficiency requirement for private landlords.

Mr Sunak has insisted he is still committed to the overall net zero target – despite announcing hundreds of new licences for oil and gas drilling this week – but he promised to pursue it in a “proportionate and pragmatic” way that didn’t hit people’s pockets.

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