MAG comments on Telegraph claims on 2040

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) issued a clarification on statements made in a Telegraph article.  The article titled “Sales of new petrol motorcycles set to be banned from 2040” has generated much interest and has been repeated by other news organisations.

Telegraph claims on 2040

The article was published on the Telegraph website at 5.21pm on 12th May stating that the sale of new petrol motorcycles is set to be banned from 2040, under plans due to be announced by ministers as part of the Government’s net zero crackdown.  The article states that this planned announcement is expected by “industry sources”.  The article also states that the Government insists no final decision has been taken on banning sales of petrol motorcycles.

The article has been cited and repeated in several news outlets since and was covered in a recent BBC Radio 4 programme which interviewed Henry Cole on the subject.  Many reports state that the Telegraph spoke to MAG, and MAG statements are quoted in the article.

To clarify, MAG has not been approached by the Telegraph.  We assume that statements have been lifted from our materials and press releases, but no MAG spokesperson provided information or comment specifically for the article, nor were we asked to.

As the article states, the Government consultation, launched two years ago, proposed the end of sales of non-zero tailpipe emission motorcycles up to 125cc (equivalent) by 2030 and larger motorcycles by 2035.  The clear desire was for an earlier date to be achieved for larger motorcycles.  At the time the MCIA expressed disappointment that the proposals included not just 50cc mopeds, but all learner legal 125cc bikes in the earlier date.  The MCIA prior to the consultation had proposed 2030 for 50cc equivalent and 2040 for all bikes above 50cc.

The article states that high numbers of electric mopeds are being sold, and that they accounted for roughly half of UK moped registrations last year.  Sales of 50cc equivalent electric mopeds were at 49.6% in 2023, but this was a decline from 56.3% in 2022.  Of more relevance is the fact that sales of electric motorcycles equivalent of up to 125cc petrol (including 50cc) declined from 11.7% in 2022 to 8.2% in 2023.  The proportion of electric sales equivalent to 50cc petrol was ‘roughly half’ but that is not the specific categorisation within the Government proposals for 2030.  Of equal note is the fact that the size of the petrol moped market contracted by 30% while the electric moped market size contracted by 40% in 2023 compared to 2022.

Sales of electric motorcycles equivalent to 126cc and above stood at just 0.5% in 2023, a decline from 0.8% in 2022.

For clarity, MAG opposes the entire policy proposal, regardless of date or subcategory. 

MAG opposed the MCIA proposals, and the Government proposals, and has repeatedly made this clear in meetings with successive Department for Transport (DfT) Ministers over the last two years.  In January we were informed by Anthony Browne MP, the current Minister with responsibility for transport decarbonisation, that the final decision and announcement was “imminent”.  However, no indication was made as to what the decision would be.  Since January there have been no further announcements, formally or informally.

MAG has received no indication from the Department that the 2040 date proposed by the MCIA is under any more consideration than MAG’s calls to scrap the entire proposed phaseout of ICE motorcycles.

MAG has asked for details of the sources of the claim that a 2040 date is likely to be announced.  The Telegraph has not responded.

Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash