Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has scrapped a proposal to tax meat as part of the government’s new plan to meet net zero.

In a speech this afternoon, the Prime Minister confirmed: “I’m also scrapping the proposal to make you change your diet – and harm British farmers – by taxing meat.”

However, this was never put forward as an official proposal.

This is one of many changes to the government’s approach to meeting net zero announced today (Wednesday, September 20).

Other measures that have been scrapped include taxes to discourage flying; sorting rubbish into several different bins; expensive installation upgrades; and compulsory car sharing.

The government has also extended deadlines to transition to clean energy.

“That means you’ll still be able to buy new petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035, in line with countries like Germany and France,” Sunak said today.

“It also means we’ll never force anyone to rip out their old boiler for an expensive heat pump, which for a family living in a terraced house in Darlington, could cost up to £10,000.”

Sunak said these reversals are possible because the UK has already “overdelivered” on previous targets to date.

“Given this progress, reaching our targets does not need to come unnecessarily at the expense of people facing higher costs – and that’s why today we can ease the burden on working families,” he said.

“We will continue to meet our international agreements,” the Prime Minister added.

Good for rural homes?

Country Land and Business Association (CLA) president Mark Tufnell has welcomed the U-turn on mandatory installation upgrades.

“We strongly support efforts to improve the environment, but some of these proposals were simply unachievable and counterproductive,” he said.

“Due to the nature of their construction, many rural properties cannot be suitably upgraded. 

“Forcing many landlords to spend at least £10,000 on works with no guarantee such investment would actually improve carbon emissions risked damaging the supply of rural housing during a cost-of-living crisis – we know many good, responsible landlords have already sold up.

“The proposed 2026 ban on off-grid oil boilers would have affected one million – largely rural – households, targetting the highest-hanging fruit first as it would have come nearly a decade before a similar ban on new gas boilers. While heat pumps are an option for some, they are not feasible or cost-effective for all.”