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IEA responds to the Prime Minister’s plan for a green industrial revolution

Mark Littlewood, Director General of the free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to the government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution 

“The government’s plan for a green industrial revolution is ambitious but relies on the false assumption that the state is best placed to pick winners when it comes to technology and the future of energy.

“The measures announced largely rely on heavy-handed prohibitions – such as the ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars – rather than price incentives.

“The motor industry has demonstrated that markets are far better at improving environmental outcomes than government mandates: in response to price signals and customer demand, the engine technologies of today are far less polluting and far more efficient than those of yesteryear.

“Where governments have intervened, they have often got it wrong, the diesel scandal being the most notable example.

“It is hard to think of a more inefficient and less liberal approach to reducing carbon emissions.

“The government would do well to adopt technology-neutral policies, rather than becoming spellbound by grand schemes with very low probabilities of success, such as HS2 and Hinkley Point.”

Responding to the government’s plan to bring forward the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 to 2030, Mark Littlewood, Director General of the free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The decision to bring forward once again the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles is yet another regressive, anti-motorist policy. 

“The ban is not only authoritarian but is likely to impose huge costs on drivers: electric vehicles still only account for 7% of new car sales in the UK, and are likely to remain far more expensive than their petrol and diesel counterparts.

“The cost of rolling out extensive charging infrastructure across the country, including in rural areas, will be immense – the price of which will be borne by the already over-stretched taxpayer.”

Responding to the Prime Minister’s pledge to introduce hundreds of miles of new cycles lanes, Andy Mayer, Chief Operating Officer at free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Well-designed cycle schemes can be brilliant, but they cater for a very small minority of commuters.

“Many recent schemes have been poorly designed and introduced without proper scrutiny during the pandemic.

“It is vitally important that policy makers and planners consult the public, prioritise value for money and consider the unintended consequences, like gridlock that increases air pollution. 

“These changes should be made cautiously, not ideologically; Westminster politicians would do well to remember that most parts of Britain are not London, and that most commuters still need to drive to work.”

Notes to editors

For media enquiries, please contact Emily Carver, Head of Media, on 07715942731 or

Mark Littlewood is available for interview and further comment.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

PM outlines his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution for 250,000 jobs

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