The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has fired its first shots in response to the motorcycle ICE ban consultation. MAG is demanding dialogue far beyond the scope of the consultation. An initial meeting established fact about potential outcomes to the consultation. MAG sees no potential for a good outcome within the scope of the consultation process.
Following the publication of the much-delayed consultation on 14th July, MAG arranged an initial meeting with Department for Transport (DfT) officials. The meeting took place on 21st July.
Firstly, officials confirmed that the consultation will not consider questions of ‘if’, only of ‘when’. ‘When’ is proposed to be 2030 or sooner for 125cc and smaller bikes. For larger capacity bikes the proposal remains as no later than 2035. Arguments for dates beyond 2035 are highly unlikely to win favour. The officials said a date beyond 2040 is entirely off the table.
Secondly, with respect to claimed technology neutrality, only battery electric, fuel cells or hydrogen are viewed as options. Hydrogen burnt in Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) is considered to be highly unlikely.
Finally, carbon neutral liquid fuels for ICE is considered to be nothing more than a short-term transition fuel for existing ICE. The DfT rules out synthetic or bio fuels as a solution for the continued sale of new ICE.
MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, commented:
“None of this came as a surprise to me. I made MAG’s opposition to the proposed policy clear. MAG is representing the views of its members and, we believe, the vast majority of bikers. We will engage fully in the consultation process, but there is no path to a good outcome. The discussion needs to go far beyond the limited scope of the consultation. We have formally submitted a request for an urgent meeting with the Minister with responsibility for the decarbonisation of transport, Trudy Harrison MP. If necessary we will continue escalating this all the way up to the new Prime Minister. First shots have been fired and MAG is mobilising for a period of intense campaigning.”
MAG is seeking a far wider discussion on decarbonisation and the future of transport as a whole. MAG Chair, Neil Liversidge, will lead the Ministerial meetings, backed by both Colin Brown and Lembit Opik (MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs). In the meeting request sent to Trudy Harrison MP, Neil wrote:
“I must state that The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is following the wishes of its members and the wider motorcycling community in opposing this policy. I appreciate that this may place us at polar opposite positions, but I feel it is essential that our position is clearly explained and considered in a wider context than the current consultation scope allows.
The measures as proposed will curtail individual freedom, damage the UK economy, worsen energy security, and reduce living standards for tens of millions of people, without helping the environment at all. Our solution will enhance everyone’s quality of life and be better for the environment, the economy, and our security as a nation.”
A second meeting of the UK Motorcycle Forum (UKM) has been scheduled for 11th August. The MCIA has been quick to express disappointment about the inclusion of 125cc bikes in the 2030 slot. MAG is far beyond expressing disappointment, and will fight on.