Net zero: How will Rishi Sunak's climate policy changes affect me?

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen breaks down the prime minister's changes to key climate policies

Rishi Sunak has rowed back on several key climate targets, outlining plans to change the government's approach to tackling air pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The prime minister insisted his apparent weakening of commitments is not a short-term plan to win voters ahead of the next general election, while his critics accused him of abandoning the UK's position as a leader in taking action against climate change.

The changes announced and how they will impact you

  • Electric vehicles

The ban on new petrol and diesel car sales will be delayed by five years, to 2035.

Such vehicles will also be able to be sold second-hand after that date.

  • Other travel

Any new taxes on flying, originally proposed to "discourage" air travel, will be scrapped.

Plans to reduce car use and encourage car sharing will be dropped. The prime minister said proposals for the government to "interfere in how many passengers you can have in your car" will not be introduced.

  • Food and Diet

A suggested tax on meat and plans to give households seven different rubbish bins will be scrapped.

No household will be 'forced' to install a heat pump, Rishi Sunak promised. Credit: PA
  • Household energy efficiency

The government estimates a family living in a terraced house in Darlington would have to pay an upfront cost of around £10,000 to install a heat pump.

Now, no household will be forced to introduce energy efficiency improvements and the 2035 target of phasing out new gas boilers will be weakened.

Nobody will be "forced" to rip out a gas boiler and install a heat pump, Mr Sunak said, until a replacement is needed. And that requirement will be delayed until 2035.

There will also be an exemption for low income households so they "will never have to switch at all".

The grant available under the current boiler upgrade scheme for households installing air source heat pumps will be increased by 50% from £5,000 to £7,500.

Landlords will no longer be expected to make energy efficiency improvements either, which the National Residential Landlords Association said will save them "substantial sums of money".

Families across the UK face 'unacceptable costs' if the government doesn't change its approach to tackling climate change, Rishi Sunak insists

  • Energy supply

Reforms will be made to how new energy and grid infrastructure, like pylons, go through the planning system.

The government say this will bring "certainty" to industry and communities a say, while speeding up nationally significant infrastructure.

A recent report said Britain is risking its 2050 net zero target if miles of electricity cables are not build in order to ensure energy can be supplied to homes and businesses.

Mr Sunak insisted the government remains committed to its 2050 net zero target and said it is "absolutely wrong" to describe the changes as a watering down of green commitments.

He said the UK also remains committed to meeting international climate targets like those in the Paris Agreement - which contains a pledge to cut emissions by 68% by 2030 - while critics have warned the policy changes risk huge reputational damage for the Tories.

But Mr Sunak is defiant. He insists he is protecting families across the UK from the "unacceptable costs" involved in a lot of the previous targets.

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