Riders and Industry Deliver Firm Message on Decarbonisation

Strong case for technology neutrality delivered at a round table with DfT Decarbonisation Minister Jesse Norman

June 21, 2023

Riders and industry today (21st June) joined forces to deliver a powerful message to transport decarbonisation minister Jesse Norman MP at a round table on motorcycle decarbonisation which was hosted by the Department for Transport. This session was held as part of dialogue with government after they issued a consultation last year on phasing out internal combustion engined motorcycles in stages from 2030.

The NMC and MCIA team were joined by almost all of the major motorcycle manufacturers, plus producers in the electric motorcycle sector, the motorcycle trade, with MAG UK also attending. This meant that the minister heard from the entire UK motorcycle sector in what was landmark session for the motorcycle lobby.

The NMC was able to present the key points of its decarbonisation policy (here), but focussed on the essential need to preserve rider choice through utilising a rage of technologies, including e-fuel types in addition to battery electric for some products. The Council also reinforced the point that if the UK attempted to move faster and earlier than the EU and other global markets then the result could be reduced choice for riders and damage to motorcycling in the UK. The need for legacy and heritage protection was also pointed out during the meeting.  

Several manufacturers were unequivocal in their view that the government’s current proposals risk market withdrawal from the UK, given that motorcycle manufacture is a global not local concern, with the UK having just 5% share of the global leisure and sport motorcycling. In essence, the economics of catering for bespoke UK-only regulation do not stack up for manufacturers in this area. However, all manufacturers have sustainability and decarbonisation goals, based on different technology types and with target timescales lying mostly in the 2040s for premium leisure and sporting products. It was also noted that there is rapid progress in the small commuter bike market, with zero emission types either on the slowly developing ePTW market, or soon to join it. ePTW manufacturers illustrated the potential for swappable batteries and the role of ePTWs in commuting and the gig economy.  

The role of emerging efuels was discussed in some depth and the NMC drew attention to developments in the motorcycle sport world, where the FIM is leading on zero Co2 fuel development for MotoGP and other areas of the sport. It was agreed that there would be a further meeting too discuss the eFuel potential.

NMC Executive Director Craig Carey-Clinch said: “This landmark event illustrated the impact that the motorcycle lobby as a whole can make when it acts together. This landmark session was a genuine first in terms of the strength of argument put forward by riders and industry in what is the key issue of our times. The Minister was in listening mode and seems willing to discuss further the points that were made in the meeting. But with no date yet announced for the Government’s policy announcement on motorcycle decarbonisation, there is still much to do to make sure that our messages are fully taken on board. As a result, the willingness of Mr Norman to keep dialogue open on areas such as eFuels is very welcome.”

MCIA’s Chief Executive Tony Campbell said:"We were grateful for the recognition our sector received for its important role in shaping the future of transportation. The Minister showed genuine interest in our concerns and actively participated in the discussion. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with officials to ensure the right decisions are made on phase out and that the Government fully harnesses the potential of our vehicles for the benefit of everyone.”


Notes to Editors

1. For further comment from the NMC please contact Craig Carey-Clinch, on 07979 757484 / craig@uknmc.org.

2. Link to NMC position on decarbonisation is here

3. Link to the NMC and MCIA joint position is here

4. National Motorcyclists Council members are: The Auto Cycle Union, BikeSocial, BikeTrac, the British Motorcyclists Federation, IAM RoadSmart, the National Motorcycle Dealers Association, the Trail Riders Fellowship and the Vintage Motor Cycle Club.