A new report by backbench MPs opposing the UK government’s ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 is funded by the freight and haulage industry, DeSmog can reveal.
The report out today by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Fuel for UK Motorists and UK Hauliers attacks the cost of the ban, questions the science behind it, and warns of public unrest if it goes ahead.
However, the report notes in small print that “the report has been produced and paid for by the FairFuelUK campaign”, an anti-fuel tax lobby group that questions cars’ impact on air quality – and is funded by the Freight Transport Association (now Logistics UK) and the Road Haulage Association.
The report has an article and quotes from FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox, the APPG’s public enquiry point, and quotes APPG vice-chair Graham Stringer MP and Steve Baker MP, both trustees of the climate science-denying Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), and Lord Peter Lilley, a former GWPF trustee.
It comes after the APPG’s chair, Craig Mackinlay MP, wrote an article for The Critic magazine criticising the transition to electric vehicles. He also questioned the independence of the government’s Climate Change Committee, calling it “the loudest cheerleaders of the green lobby”.
Mackinlay was identified by ITV as the leader of a backbench revolt against cutting emissions to net zero by 2050, and Bloomberg reports he plans to use GWPF research to this end.
A Labour Party spokesperson told DeSmog: “Boris Johnson should distance himself from the climate sceptics on his backbenches.
“We must deliver net zero to protect people and planet. Giving credence to the views of those questioning that accepted scientific fact risks seriously undermining the UK’s credibility as hosts of COP26.”
They added: “But we must push back not only against climate denial, but climate delay. Climate breakdown is already happening and the government is simply failing to act with the urgency, ambition and leadership needed.”
Jemima Hartshorn, founder of parents’ group Mums for Lungs, which campaigns against air pollution, told Desmog: “It is appalling that some of our MPs are more keen to support their own agendas than actually work to serve the public, as is their job.
“Mackinlay supports continuing ‘business as usual’, and the most vulnerable in our society, our children, are going to be suffering the most.”
She said the science was clear about the impact of emissions on the climate and on air pollution, adding: “MPs who denounce these facts or do not see the moral duty to act to protect children’s lives in the UK and across the world and mitigate global heating should really have no ear of government.”
The APPG was set up to oppose fuel taxes, congestion charges, and low emission zones, and push for “fairer treatment for carbon based fuelled vehicle owners”.
Mackinlay, who defected from UKIP to the Conservatives in 2005, has also long supported reopening a former RAF airport in Manston, Kent. In 2018 he was found to have broken parliamentary rules by not disclosing his past efforts to reopen the airport himself through his company Mama Airlines.
Mackinlay did not respond to DeSmog’s request for comment on this story.