Readers of The Engineer slam Sunak’s net zero roll-back

More than 60 per cent of respondents to an online poll carried out by The Engineer believe that Rishi Sunak’s recent roll-back on a series of low carbon pledges will be bad for UK industry.


According to the poll, which received 515 votes, 62 per cent of The Engineer’s readers believe that the changes will be disastrous for UK businesses, and represent a regression that we will live to regret; whilst 38 per cent support plans and think that the softening of commitments will benefit the UK without sabotaging our net zero targets.

See the poll here.

The PM’s announcement proposed a delay on the ban of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by five years, a watering down of the plan to phase out gas boilers, and an abandonment of new energy efficiency targets for privately rented homes.

Business and scientific communities have framed Sunak’s plans as naïve, politically motivated decisions that will damage the UK and surrender what could be a leading position in the global green economy.

Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, said: “This is a timely reminder that the UK needs a long-term industrial strategy which encourages innovation in advanced, high value technologies such as net zero and AI to stimulate growth and skilled employment. This announcement sends entirely the wrong signal for businesses and suggests if we aren’t looking forward, we are simply going backwards.”

Readers of The Engineer have also weighed in on the debate:

Commenting on the survey, Nick Cole said: “Postponing the deadline means, again, like in many other historical engineering developments, giving our competitors a freer hand. What is wrong with the UK taking a lead, innovating, and setting an example? Certainly as a small nation we make barely a dent in the hydrocarbon pollutants, but the world has to start somewhere.”

Cassandra Brown argued that: “The real reason for this is not environmental, it’s bringing UK car production in line with EU timescales. [The elephant in the room] is the absolute impossibility of achieving the necessary charging infrastructure. Millions of households have on street parking. Millions of people live in rural areas with long distance driving incompatible with EV range.”

In contrast, another respondent, ‘mattster’, commented, “The transition to sustainable energy is neither unaffordable nor inequitable. Private capital is ready to drive it but is being held up by red tape and fossil fuel subsidies.”

Though the poll is now closed, your responses to the question – do you support the latest rollback of the UK’s net zero plans? – subject to moderation, are welcome below.