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‘End of sale dates’ for motorcycles a ‘stretching goal’ says Transport Minister

‘End of sale dates’ for motorcycles a ‘stretching goal’ says Transport Minister, but we must ‘match ambition’ of cars and vans.

There will be an end to the sale for new non-zero emission motorcycles, according to Jesse Norman, Minister of State for Transport Decarbonisation and Technology. He acknowledged that some motorcycles ‘may need longer to make that transition’ and talked positively about their diversity and place in the transport mix, from touring to deliveries. However, he was firm in the government’s plans for cutting carbon in this sector, calling it a ‘revolution’.

In a pre-recorded speech to the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) annual conference it was clear from the mention of a ‘reduction in air and noise pollution’ that the government’s focus is still on phasing out internal combustion engines in favour of quieter battery electric. The BMF remains opposed to setting arbitrary dates for the ban on new non-zero emission motorcycles, and we await the government’s response to the consultation which will be published ‘in due course’. Hopefully, there will be more consideration of alternative fuels, and we will continue to urge the government to take a technology-neutral approach.

Following the Minister’s address, MCIA CEO Neil Fletcher spoke of the key role that motorcycles have to play in the future and in the government’s net zero plans. Aaron Berry from the government Office for Zero Emission Vehicles outlined how the government is looking to improve infrastructure – particularly charging – for all electric vehicles. Availability of chargepoints was something that was highlighted in the BMF survey of members on decarbonisation, and this was addressed as the government is introducing more grants to encourage installation of chargepoints by local authorities, workplaces and landlords. Another potential improvement was regulating to require all chargepoints to allow contactless payments rather than requiring different apps, which would be welcomed by the BMF.

Andy Eastlake from the ZEMO partnership gave a presentation in which he outlined that the government are beginning to consider motorcycles more as part of the solution, but that they still need to be decarbonised. He spoke about alternatives to battery electric for motorcycles, particularly biofuels, e-fuels and hydrogen. It was clear from his presentation that whilst alternative fuels show potential benefits in reducing emissions, they are not there yet in providing a viable alternative to battery electric vehicles. The BMF hopes to see further research and work being done on this, as it is being done for other sectors such as aviation. Questions were asked regarding the availability of fuel for historic bikes, and it was anticipated that liquid fuel will be around for years to come albeit with declining availability and increasing price.

BMF’s Government Relations Executive Emily Rochester said “while there were good discussions around the use of alternative fuels, the government is not interested in keeping ICE motorcycles running and instead were focussed on delivering infrastructure to support electric vehicles. Despite the Minister’s assurances that the industry and manufacturers would be supported by the government, they seem set on the phase out dates set out in the consultation and I would be surprised if they are pushed back. We will of course continue to engage with the government and push our position.”

Neil Fletcher MCIA CEO Howard Anderson BMF Finance Director and

Emily Rochester BMF Government Relations Executive

The Industry Panel facing questions from the floor.

By BMF admin

Top image courtesy of MCIA