ACTION is needed to ensure the government's plan to ban new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles in the next 20 years is a success, according to councils across the South East.

Transport for the South East, a group of local authorities business groups and key partners from across the region, which includes Hampshire, has called for a task force to be created to oversee the implementation of the plan.

The group hit the headlines last month after submitting a request for transport issues in the South East to be devolved to them.

Cllr Keith Glazier, chair of Transport for the South East, said: “Ending the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans will be a critical point on the UK’s journey to a zero emissions future, but agreeing a date is not enough.

“Whether the target is 2040, 2035 or sooner, it must be accompanied by a clear and costed action plan setting out how we are going to reach this critical milestone. Without it, there is a significant risk that the target could be missed.”

Their 'action plan' request includes financial incentives to encourage people to make the switch to electric vehicles (EVs), grants to help the industry shift and improve charging infrastructure for EVs.

They have also called on the government to lead by example, develop clear, consistent and effective advice for consumers, and continue research into so-called smart charging, which avoid the burden of recharging cars being placed on the National Grid.

Cllr Glazier continued: “Electric vehicles are cheaper to run but more expensive to buy. Without the right financial support, people from lower income households will bear the brunt of higher fuel, maintenance and repair costs that come with owning older conventional vehicles.”