Bri­tain to ban sale of petrol and diesel-pow­ered cars by 2040

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

LON­DON — The United King­dom will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel-pow­ered cars from 2040 as part of a plan to get them off the roads al­to­gether 10 years later, en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Michael Gove said on Wed­nes­day.

“The Con­ser­va­tives had a man­i­festo prom­ise to en­sure that by 2050 there would be no diesel or petrol ve­hi­cles on our roads. To­day we are con­firm- ing that means there should be no new diesel or petrol ve­hi­cles by 2040,” Gove said in a BBC in­ter­view.

Gove also said the gov­ern­ment would make $260 mil­lion avail­able to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties shortly for schemes to re­strict diesel ve­hi­cles’ ac­cess to pol­luted roads.

The ban on petrol and diesel cars as well as vans fol­lows a sim­i­lar pro­posal by the French gov­ern­ment, and will also in­clude hy­brid ve­hi­cles that have an elec­tric mo­tor and a petrol or diesel en­gine.

Bri­tain’s High Court de­manded that the gov­ern­ment pro­duce plans to tackle il­le­gal ni­tro­gen diox­ide pol­lu­tion, largely caused by diesel emis­sions, and a draft re­port was pub­lished in May, but the full re­port was de­layed by last month’s snap gen­eral elec­tion.

The gov­ern­ment will pro- vide lo­cal coun­cils with funds to bring down NO2 lev­els, with pos­si­ble so­lu­tions in­clud­ing the re­moval of speed humps, re­pro­gram­ming traf­fic lights and chang­ing road lay­outs.

Cam­paign­ers want cities to im­pose en­try fees on diesel driv­ers, but coun­cils will only be al­lowed to do so if no other mea­sures are avail­able, with min­is­ters wary of “pun­ish­ing” driv­ers of cars who bought their ve­hi­cles in good faith, ac­cord­ing to the re­ports.

“Diesel driv­ers are not to blame and, to help them switch to cleaner ve­hi­cles, the gov­ern­ment will con­sult on a tar­geted scrap­page scheme, one of a num­ber of mea­sures to sup­port mo­torists af­fected by lo­cal plans,” said a gov­ern­ment spokesman.

Clien­tEarth, the cam­paign group that brought the case, ar­gu­ing that a pre­vi­ous set of plans were in­suf­fi­cient to meet EU pol­lu­tion lim­its, warned that health is­sues “caused by ex­po­sure to il­le­gal air pol­lu­tion are hap­pen­ing now, so we need ur­gent ac­tion”.

Air pol­lu­tion con­trib­utes to the death of more than 40,000 peo­ple per year in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures, with NO2 a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem.

DANIEL LEAL-OLI­VAS / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Pen­sion­ers John Kid­man (left), 87, and Bill Hunt, 83, wear vir­tual re­al­ity head­sets at the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion’s launch of VR con­tent ahead of the 100th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele in Lon­don on Tues­day.

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