The fleet and motor industry has reacted with tempered enthusiasm to UK government plans to ban the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars by 2040.

The move followed countries such as France and India, matching the deadline of the former. While many industry commenters welcomed the plans, there were concerns over how it would be implemented in practice.

In a statement, Close Brothers Motor Finance said in order for the plans to be realised they required cooperation, and help for ICE car owners to adapt. Close Brothers Motor Finance said: “The decision to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 can only work if more is done to support the public, and indeed car dealers, with making this change. Between now and 2040, the onus will be on car manufacturers and dealers to change negative consumer perceptions about the range and the cost of electric cars.

“The automotive industry is a huge contributor to the UK economy, and dealers, no less than consumers, will need support and education on any changes that are being rolled out, and how their businesses can continue to thrive in an evolving market.”

Simon Heath, director and automotive specialist at KPMG UK called 2040 an “aspirational deadline,” and cautioned that the changes would take time, and require large government investment.

He said: “In reality, this would only apply to new passenger vehicles, and it’s likely to take a further 20 years to clear UK roads of traditional petrol and diesel vehicles. The UK will continue to move towards plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles and target this aspiration, but this will take time: only 4.2 per cent of new car sales last month were in this category.

“The government needs to further consider the implications of the ban, as well as the huge infrastructure investment that will be required to install charging stations across the country”.

From the fleet sector, Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) said the government needed an additional short-term strategy to deal with pollution.

He said: “It will have almost no impact on NOx emissions here and now. It is what the government does in the short term to kick-start the transition and maintain its momentum that really matters. Any long-term zero-emission targets needs to be coordinated and underpinned by every localised, short-term strategy.”

Keaney also called for uniformity in standards for clean air zones across the country.