How we’re reaching net zero

The UK has over-delivered on its commitment to reduce emissions.  

Having already slashed emissions by 48%, compared to 41% in Germany, 23% in France and no change at all in the United States – we have cut emissions faster than any other G7 country over the last decade. 

This has allowed us to take a more realistic approach while reaching our green targets, to ease the burden on hardworking families.

But we are still working towards our current emission targets, building on our world-leading action to decarbonise at home.  

In the autumn statement, the Chancellor set out measures to speed up connections and rapidly increase capacity on the electricity grid, and put nearly a billion pounds of investment into green industries.  

And the government has announced a new package to protect the UK’s rich natural environment – including 34 new landscape recovery projects, a new strategy to invest in our vital British rainforests and plans for a new National Forest and National Park. 

Why have we changed our net zero approach? 

The UK previously set the most ambitious target – to reduce carbon emissions by 68% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels – and was the only major economy to have set a target of 77% for 2035.  

The UK has even surpassed the targets most countries have set for 2030, such as Australia, Canada, Japan and the US, and overdelivered on all its previous targets to date. 

Thanks to progress already made, reaching the UK’s 2030 and 2035 targets does not have to come at the expense of the British public, who are continuing to face higher costs of living.

This means we can amend our approach and some measures that were planned are no longer needed or can happen on a longer timeframe.  

What has changed? 

Instead of pushing ahead with unrealistic targets that would require families to incur unnecessary costs, the government has revised their plans to ease pressure on working people.  

The changes include delaying the ban on new petrol and diesel cars – enabling families to wait to take advantage of falling prices over the coming decade if they want to – and delaying the ban on new fossil fuel boilers for certain households. 

Many homes are not suitable for heat pumps, so this ensures certain homeowners do not have to spend around £10-15,000 on upgrading their homes in just three years’ time. 

The government is also ensuring that households who will most struggle to make the switch to heat pumps or other low-carbon alternatives won’t have to do so. 

Under revised plans, the government will:  

  • Move back the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by five years, so all sales of new cars from 2035 will be zero emission.  
  • Delay the ban on installing oil and LPG boilers, and new coal heating, for off-gas-grid homes to 2035. 
  • Set an exemption to the phase out of fossil fuel boilers, including gas, in 2035.  
  • Scrap policies to force landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties, but instead continue to encourage households to do so where they can. 
  • Raise the Boiler Upgrade Grant by 50% to £7,500 to help households who want to replace their gas boilers with a low-carbon alternative like a heat pump. 
  • Rule out policy ideas that would interfere in the way people live their lives. 

Listen to the Prime Minister speak about his new approach to net zero here.