NMC: UK government needs "different regulatory approach" to bike decarbonisation

The UK's National Motorcyclists Council has submitted its official response to the UK government's current proposal regarding two-wheeler decarbonisation.

NMC: UK government needs "different regulatory approach" to bike decarbonisation

The National Motorcyclists Council has become the latest UK-based motorcycling group to submit its official response to the UK government’s 2035 proposal for the end of sales for non-zero-emission two-wheelers. 

The National Motorcyclists Council’s (NMC) response to the UK government’s proposal can be considered - arguably unsurprisingly - one of opposition. 

There is one area in which the NMC finds agreement with the government, that regarding existing internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles. The current government proposal allows for existing ICE bikes to remain in use, and be traded in the used motorcycle marketplace even after the 2035 end date for the sale of new non-zero-emission two-wheelers.

However, elsewhere, there is overwhelming disagreement.

As has been discussed before, the plans to begin the phase-out of non-zero-emission two-wheelers by 2030, with an end date of 2035, would put the UK ‘out of sync’ with the rest of the world, and therefore the global motorcycle market. This then puts the UK motorcycle market and industry at risk, with the possibility that international manufacturers could pull out of the UK market.

The NMC considers that the UK moving out of line with international motorcycle decarbonisation strategies will “make little difference” to global CO2 emissions, and would therefore jeopardise the UK motorcycle market for negligible benefit.

The NMC says it “does not support arbitrary UK only targets for ending the sale of new non-zero emission motorcycles and believes that the UK should instead move towards net-zero goals on the basis of internationally agreed targets and strategies.”

Further, the Council says the government should be “working with both motorcycle riders and the industry to develop an approach which is in line with the Prime Minister’s statement to Parliament on September 8th that Government policy should “ensure we deliver net zero by 2050 in a way that is pro-business and pro-growth.””

As with the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) - who submitted their official response earlier this week - the NMC says that “all technologies and innovations should be ‘in play’ – including clean and synthetic fuels – and not just battery electric only,” when it comes to motorcycle decarbonisation. 

This is contrary to the current government position, which considers battery-electrics as the ultimate end goal for zero-emission two-wheelers.

NMC Executive Director Craig Carey-Clinch said: “Successful transition in any field requires those affected to be content with changes proposed. In the case of zero emission motorcycles, particularly in the premium motorcycle market, current product availability, it’s suitability for the wide range of rider needs, prices and current low market penetration, suggests that much more will need to be done before a reasonable target date for full zero emission new production can be established.

"Although riders are willing to try new technologies, if products don’t meet their needs, the market will be severely impacted. 

“Therefore, it is clear that a different regulatory approach will be needed which recognises where electrification works for the market and where it currently poses challenges which cannot be ignored.

“The Government should show more ambition in this area. Net zero should not mean the end of the internal combustion engine, but instead we should be looking towards a ‘mixed economy’ of battery electric, clean ICE fuels and other types of technology, with current motorcycle types properly recognised from now as a lower Co2 transport choice. Innovation should be encouraged and not restricted to narrow pathways.”

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