A broad coalition of businesses and pressure groups has urged Theresa May to accelerate the phase-out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.

Ahead of the government’s Zero Emission Vehicles Summit, which is being held in Birmingham (11-12 September), a letter to the prime minister called for greater ambition on delivering low carbon transport.

The government’s “Road to Zero” paper, published earlier this year, says that all new cars must be electric or hybrids by 2040.

The letter says the government should incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the upcoming budget by bringing forward the 2 per cent company car benefit in-kind tax rate to 2019/20.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said: “Taking the right action now would show clear global leadership and enable the UK to continue to be a leading market for low carbon transport.

“Energy UK has long been calling for the government to go further and faster to encourage a mass uptake of electric vehicles to the benefit of our environment, the economy and consumers.”

A spokesman for the National Infrastructure Commission welcomed the letter but warned that there must be greater efforts to rollout local charge points.

He said: “To support drivers to make the switch from petrol and diesel, our National Infrastructure Assessment recommends that councils work with charge point providers to ensure more of their parking spaces – including on-street parking – can be ready for electric vehicles.

“This should be a key part of delivering a truly visible and national charging network so that as demand for electric cars continues to surge, our infrastructure can keep up.”

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