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