The UK automotive industry had another successful year in 2016, with production achieving the best performance since the turn of the century, record exports and an all-time high for new vehicle registrations. Emissions from vehicles continued to reduce through the period.
Not surprisingly, much of the debate on air quality and carbon emissions has centred on the vehicle. However, the environmental impact of the production process is also an important factor. To recognise this SMMT publishes a yearly Sustainability Report.
As this latest report shows, progress remains strong on a number of key sustainability indicators. UK manufacturers have continued to improve the environmental performance of the vehicles and components they produce, as well as within their manufacturing processes. In 2016, average CO2 emissions per vehicle fell -2.9%; energy use fell -3.2%; water use fell -3.5%; and waste to landfill was down -33.7%. In fact, almost 90% of waste was recycled in 2016.
However, the economic success of our industry and the contribution to improving the environment must not be jeopardised by Brexit. The UK government must secure interim arrangements to safeguard the future of the UK motor industry and avoid a cliff edge. We believe a final agreement on a new relationship with the EU that benefits the industry cannot be achieved by March 2019. The UK must maintain single market and customs union membership until a final agreement on a new relationship with the EU has been agreed and implemented.