LONDON -- Britain will push back a ban on new gasoline and diesel cars and vans to 2035 from 2030, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, as he set out what he called a "new approach" to tackling climate change.
"We're going to ease the transition to electric vehicles. You'll still be able to buy petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035," Sunak said in a keynote speech on Wednesday. "Even after that, you'll still be able to buy and sell them secondhand."
Sunak said he expects the vast majority of vehicles sold in the U.K. to be electric by 2030 without government intervention, due to falling costs.
"At least for now it should be you, the consumer, who makes that choice, not the government forcing you to do it it,” he said.
The delay will bring Britain in line with the European Union's plan to require new cars sold after 2035 to be zero emissions, effectively banning the sale of new gasoline and diesel models in the bloc that Britain left in 2020.
Automakers, which have already made key investment decisions in line with the 2030 target, criticized Sunak's decision to push back the target to 2025.
Kia, which has plans to launch nine electric models in Britain over the next few years, said it was disappointing to see a change in a policy the industry was working and investing toward.
The announcement "alters complex supply chain negotiations and product planning, while potentially contributing to consumer and industry confusion," a Kia spokesperson said.