Rishi Sunak is poised to announce the watering down of climate change commitments despite a backlash from industry and the prospect of a damaging rift in the Tory party.
The Prime Minister will deliver a speech in Downing Street on Wednesday afternoon setting out a “proportionate” approach to cutting emissions.
He held a hastily arranged call with Cabinet ministers on Wednesday morning after speculation about his net-zero plans emerged on Tuesday night.
A speech had been due to take place later this week but the leak to the BBC about the plans appears to have persuaded Downing Street to bring the announcement forward.
Measures being considered include weakening the plan to phase out gas boilers from 2035 and delaying the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars – currently due in 2030 – by five years, the BBC reported.
In a statement, Mr Sunak said his plans would not be derailed by a “leak”, claiming politicians “of all stripes have not been honest about costs and trade-offs” associated with net zero.
He accused previous Tory governments of taking “the easy way out, saying we can have it all”.
But the announcement has provoked fury in the car industry.
Ford UK chairwoman Lisa Brankin said: “Our business needs three things from the UK Government: ambition, commitment and consistency.
“A relaxation of 2030 would undermine all three.”
ITV’s Shehab Khan is also reporting that industry figures elsewhere are “utterly furious” with the announcements.
“The UK is closed for business,” they say.