15th May 2019
Not cool! Could ice cream vans become a thing of the past in your area?
With the warm weather (finally) beginning to sweep across the nation, you might be thinking about paying a visit to your local ice cream van to help you cool off. If you live in certain areas of London, however, you can think again.
A number of London councils have recently announced a ban on ice cream vans, with some installing “no ice cream trading” signs in public streets.
The announcement comes soon after government advisors released a report stating that laws to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles should be brought forward to 2030. Concerns have been raised, however, that these new targets are unrealistic, along with the aim to reduce carbon emissions in the UK from all sources to zero by 2050.
So, what is being done to ensure that targets are met, and that diesel and petrol cars become a thing of the past? Let’s find out…
The ice cream van ban
The decision to ban ice cream vans on several streets in London was made to reduce carbon emissions in the area. Ice cream vans mostly run on diesel and black carbon, and their engines have to remain running even when stationary to ensure that freezers work and no ice cream melts.
The aim is to encourage those who own ice cream vans to consider electric alternatives, thus reducing the number of emissions in the area. Air pollution is a serious problem in London and the surrounding areas, with emissions reportedly accounting for around 9,400 premature deaths each year, and affecting many others.
Some councils in the area have already started taking steps to ensure that ice cream vans can operate in a way that doesn’t damage the environment. Islington Council has already installed electricity power points in Highbury Fields, meaning that vans can remain in one place and power their freezers and other appliances without having to leave their engines running.
While the ice cream van ban is unlikely to take effect nationwide anytime soon, the decision of councils in London reflects a genuine effort to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles on our roads, meaning that the regular visits from your local ice cream man may cease to exist.
‘Net Zero’ and the banning of petrol and diesel engines
The government’s official stance on the reduction of petrol and diesel vehicles is currently that it aims to bring about laws which will ban the sale of combustion engine cars by 2040.
According to a new ‘Net Zero’ report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), however, in order to meet its target to reduce UK carbon emissions to nearly zero by 2050, the government should consider bringing forward its petrol and diesel ban to 2030, if technology allows.
The report also states that to achieve their long term goals, the government needs to invest heavily in the electric vehicle charging network. Currently, there are around 21,000 electric charging points available to electric car users in the UK; however, the report states that this number will need to increase to around 210,000, along with 3,500 rapid and ultra-rapid chargers near motorways to cope with demands.
Reducing the cost of electric vehicles
Although undoubtedly better for the environment, the prospect of purchasing an electric vehicle is currently not a possibility for many road users in the UK, due to how expensive they are. However, research from Morgan Stanley suggests that all-electric vehicles will reach parity in price with petrol and diesel cars by 2024.
With the prices of NOx and CO2 continually rising, it is expected that there will be a crossover in the cost of a combustion engine vehicle and an electric one. This, along with the regulations being imposed by the government will ensure that electric cars rise in popularity among road users.
With several initiatives in the pipeline to reduce the number of combustion engines on our motorways and streets, it remains to be seen if the government will meet its strict targets over the next few decades. One thing can be guaranteed; however, the rise of the electric vehicle should not be ignored.
As it’s now emerged that even the local ice cream man isn’t safe from regulations in some areas, we’re much more likely to see an increasing number of ways to reduce emissions on the road soon.