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General Election 2017: The Future Of The Car

Last Updated: 30th May 2017
General Election 2017: The Future Of The Car

30th May 2017

Another General Election has been called and some are saying that it is the most important of our lifetimes. There are many important issues up for discussion and scrutiny including the obvious Brexit process. But what about the future of cars?

The majority use cars daily for a variety of different tasks including the commute to work, the weekly shop and visiting friends and family. We invest large amounts of money into these vehicles, whether it is through car finance or leasing or purchasing the car outright with a single lump sum. Considering how much money we invest in these vehicles and how they aid us every day in our lives, it is essential that we understand what is at stake in this election.

Here, we check through each of the main parties' manifestos to discover what each of them is promising us about the future of the automotive industry in Britain.

The Labour Party’s proposals

The Labour Party are offering a radically different take on transport as a whole compared to their opponents. They wish to nationalise the railways again when the private franchises expire. They will update rail infrastructure and the London Crossrail network. They also want to upgrade and retrofit buses with low-emission engines. Their manifesto[1] states that: “Our plans will encourage and enable people to get out of their cars, for better health and a cleaner environment.”

Labour says that they wish to put Britain at the forefront of development and manufacturing of ultra-low emission vehicles and the creation of clean modes of transport through investment. They do not, however, state any specific detail on how this will be achieved. The retrofitting on buses means that all buses with diesel engines, running in the most severely air polluted locations, will be upgraded to the Euro 6 standard for engines.

Labour’s focus on road safety

Labour wishes to “reset” the country’s road safety vision. They aim to create a transport network that strives for zero deaths, by reintroducing road safety targets and setting out new measures to improve safety standard. Again, Labour is low on details on how this will be achieved in their manifesto.

Proposals by the Conservative Party

The Conservative Party does include details as to how they will achieve their aims in their manifesto[2]. They promise to work through one of the largest investment programmes ever for our roads and railways. The bill for the investment is close to £40 billion between now and 2020. This should see a reduction in potholes and the development of a strategic road network. This network will include extra lanes for motorways and overall improve the quality of our key routes to ensure they are effective for use.

The Conservatives also want to make Britain a world leader in electric vehicle technology and use. They aim to ensure that every vehicle is zero-emissions by 2050. They do supply more details than Labour on how to achieve this. They say they will invest £600 Million into the electric vehicle industry by 2020.

What the Liberal Democrats have to say

The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto[3] focuses on air pollution when it comes to their transport policies. They point out that air pollution contributes to 40,000 premature deaths a year and costs the NHS a whopping £15 billion. They say they aim to introduce a Green Transport Act if they are elected in order to reduce the levels of air pollution.

The policies included in this Act include a diesel scrappage scheme that allows drivers to scrap their diesel cars and be compensated by the government if they choose to do so. They also appear to be following the European model of banning the sale of all diesel cars and small vans in the UK by the year 2025.

This is similar to Norway’s policy of banning the sale of all petrol-powered cars by 2025, the Netherlands wants to ban the sale of all non-electric cars by the same year and Germany is aiming to do the same progressively over the next 20 years.

The Lib Dems also want to extend the policy of ultra-low emission zones to at least 10 more towns and cities. They state they’re keen to encourage people to purchase electric and low-emission vehicles through changes to vehicle taxation.

They wish to combat the issue of the UK lacking the infrastructure for electric vehicles by investing in it with the aim of producing universal charging points so any electric car can be charged at any charging station.  

And the Green Party says…

In their manifesto, The Green Guarantee[4], the Green Party has a selection of policies that are both similar and unique compared with their political rivals. If elected, the Green Party would commit to one-off fines against those car makers who cheated on the emission tests like Volkswagen.

They would introduce low-traffic neighbourhoods with the aim being to ensure safety for the residents. There are no further details on how this policy will work at this time. These low-traffic neighbourhoods would provide safe places for people to walk and cycle without having to worry about speeding vehicles. There would also be safe zones within these neighbourhoods for children to learn how to ride their bikes.

In an attempt to reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions, the Green Party would increase incentives for drivers to buy other vehicles and get diesel vehicles off the road. This would go hand in hand with expanding and funding a mandatory Clean Air Zone Network, which would work in a similar fashion to the Low-Emission Zones and the Ultra-Low-Emission Zones.


The Labour Party

The Conservative Party

Liberal Democrats

The Green Party

Upgrading & retrofitting buses with low-emission engines

£40 billion in road and rail investment between 2017-2020.

The introduction of the Green Transport Act to reduce air pollution levels.

One-off fines against car makers who cheated emission tests

Bring Britain to the forefront of developing and manufacturing of ultra-low emission vehicles

Zero-emission by 2050 target with £600 million in electric vehicle industry by 2020.

Diesel scrappage scheme to encourage driver’s to get rid of their diesel powered cars

Introduce low-traffic neighbourhood areas for resident’s safety.

Upgrade all future buses to Euro 6 Standard engines


Banning all diesel cars and small vans in the UK by 2025

Improve incentives for drivers to move from diesel cars to low-emission and electric cars

Reset the UK’s Road safety vision


Extending ultra-low emission zones to 10 other cities and towns.


Expand and fund the Clean Air Zone Network



Investment in electric car infrastructure, including universal charging points.



The General Election is taking place on Thursday, 8th June and you can make your choice. What future do you see for the car and motor transport in this country after this election? Which vision offered by the parties is most attractive to you?



[2] https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/manifesto2017/Manifesto2017.pdf

[3] http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/themes/5909d4366ad575794c000000/attachments/original/1495020157/Manifesto-Final.pdf?1495020157

[4] https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/gp2017/greenguaranteepdf.pdf

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