The ban on new petrol and diesel cars sold in Britain due in 2040 could be accelerated under new plans, it has been revealed.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the bar on the sale of new solely internal-combustion-engined vehicles could be brought forward by five years to 2035, in an effort to encourage the take-up of electric models sooner.
While such moves would be controversial - not least for the motor industry - it would bring Britain closer in-line with other European nations such as Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden, which have bans in place from 2030.
Scotland also intends to phase out new petrol and diesel motors from 2032.
Accelerated ban: Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the Government will explore the idea of bringing forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2035
Mr Shapps made the announcement on Monday when addressing the Conservative Party conference.
In a statement that's likely to cause uproar among the millions of car owners in the country, he said the Government will 'look again' at the current 2040 deadline.
Staking the case for the date to be brought forward, he said: 'We must go further to protect our environment and improve our competitive edge.
'As you may know, we've already committed to ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
'However, if we're to become the world-leader in green technology, we must always be looking to expand our ambitions.'
He went on to say that he will push for the Government to 'thoroughly explore the case' for bringing the 2040 deadline forward.
'The Government's advisory Committee on Climate Change has said 2035 is a date for which we should aim,' he added.
'We will need to test the arguments and work in partnership with industry to examine how to proceed.
'Just as we rejuvenated our automotive sector in the 1980s, we're going to work with our pioneering car sector to help them sell the next generation of vehicles around the world.
'Providing high-skilled jobs, utilising British know-how and ending dependence of fossil fuels.'
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made the announcement during the second day of the annual Conservative Party conference at the Manchester Central convention complex
Other European countries have more ambitious plans in place to ban the sale on new petrol and diesel cars by 2030
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders responded to the statement, suggesting that the government would need to do far more