NEWS that sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be phased out by 2030 has been welcomed but concern has been raised over the number of charge points in Furness.

The move brings the ban on new conventional cars and vans forward by a decade, from a planned date of 2040, though the sale of some hybrid vehicles will be allowed until 2035.

It aims to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles to cut climate emissions and local air pollution, as part of the 10-point plan to boost jobs and drive the shift towards cutting emissions to net zero by 2050.

Lord Walney, who has driven an electric car in Barrow for several years, welcomed the government’s announcement.

But the former Barrow and Furness MP warned that more public charging points are urgently needed across Cumbria to encourage more residents to switch from petrol and diesel.

“Our Nissan Leaf is great to drive and was sold locally but the truth is that I am not sure we would have taken the plunge had we known how tricky it can be to get around Cumbria with so few public charge points available,” he said.

“I am embarrassed to say that we have become far too familiar with local breakdown trucks after repeatedly running out of battery just before reaching the fast charger in Ulverston, which for a long time was the only one in the area.

“The larger batteries in newer models will help and we will ultimately all benefit from the better air quality of going electric, but more financial help from the government and our councils’ drive to increase the number of public charge points across the area is essential if large numbers are going to feel able to make the switch in the years ahead.

“If we can grow the charging network, and also sort out some chronic reliability problems that currently make some chargers a nightmare, then we can also help grow Furness’s visitor economy in the years ahead.

“The number of tourists using electric vehicles to get around the Lake District is going to grow exponentially and as it stands some would be put off from a day trip to Barrow out of fears they might get stranded. ”

The Prime Minister outlined new investment of £1.3 billion to accelerate the rollout of charge points in homes, streets, and on motorways, to make electric vehicles easier to charge up, and £582 million in grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to help reduce the costs.

A spokesperson for XR Furness said: "The new date of 2030 for a ban on fossil-fuel vehicles might be a step in the right direction - but it certainly doesn't go far enough.

"It would help cut car emissions to the equivalent of 46m tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030, according to the report, from an equivalent of 68 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) today.

"But this forecast is still almost 40 per cent higher than the interim target set by the government’s official climate advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, to cut car emissions to 32.8 MtCO2e by 2030.

"Boris Johnson is only pledging an additional £4 billion - that's a third of what was spent on their less than adequate track-and-trace scheme.

"Electric vehicles are not an instant solution.

“There's probably not enough metal in the planet to convert all the fossil-fuel vehicles to electric ones, which are heavier and so produce more of the fine particles that are killing people and damaging children's lungs.

"One way or the other - either in a planned, rational way or as a result of the effects of the climate crisis - we're going to have to get out of our cars. It is likely people will be happier for it, too."