UK to ban sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Bri­tain said yes­ter­day it will out­law the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 in a bid to cut air pol­lu­tion but en­vi­ron­men­tal groups said the pro­pos­als did not go far enough. En­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Michael Gove an­nounced the move as part of the govern­ment’s keenly-awaited £3 bil­lion air pol­lu­tion plan, which will de­mand that coun­cils pro­pose mea­sures by March next year to re­duce ni­tro­gen diox­ide (NO2) lev­els. 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.

“The Con­ser­va­tives had a man­i­festo prom­ise to en­sure that by 2050 there would be no diesel or petrol ve­hi­cles on the road and to­day we’re con­firm­ing that should mean no new diesel or petrol ve­hi­cles by 2040,” Gove told BBC Ra­dio 4. Bri­tain’s High Court de­manded that the govern­ment pro­duce plans to tackle il­le­gal NO2 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 pro­vide lo­cal coun­cils with £255 mil­lion to bring NO2 lev­els to le­gal 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 me­dia re­ports.

Jobs warn­ing

“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,” a govern­ment spokesman said. Gove added that he did not be­lieve “that it is nec­es­sary to bring in charg­ing.” Cam­paign group Clien­tEarth warned that health is­sues “caused by ex­po­sure to il­le­gal air pol­lu­tion are hap­pen­ing now, so we need ur­gent ac­tion.” Fel­low cam­paign­ers Green­peace also warned that the plans did not do enough to com­bat the im­me­di­ate is­sue of NO2 pol­lu­tion in cities

“While this plan makes the right head­line-grab­bing noises, in re­al­ity it means that chil­dren across the UK will con­tinue to be ex­posed to harm­ful air pol­lu­tion for years to come, with po­ten­tially ir­re­versible im­pacts,” said Areeba Hamid, clean air cam­paigner at Green­peace UK. “Pro­vid­ing a long term vi­sion is not enough, (Michael) Gove still needs pro­tect our health right now from toxic fumes pol­lut­ing our streets.” The So­ci­ety of Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Traders (SMMT) said that the move could cost jobs. “Cur­rently de­mand for al­ter­na­tively fu­elled ve­hi­cles is grow­ing but still at a very low level as con­sumer have con­cern over af­ford­abil­ity, range and charg­ing points,” said SMMT Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mike Hawes.

“Out­right bans risk un­der­min­ing the cur­rent mar­ket for new cars and our sec­tor which sup­ports over 800,000 jobs across the UK, we could un­der­mine the UK’s suc­cess­ful au­to­mo­tive sec­tor if we don’t al­low enough time for the in­dus­try to ad­just.” Air pol­lu­tion con­trib­utes to the death of more than 40,000 peo­ple per year in Bri­tain, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures, with ni­tro­gen diox­ide a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem. Nor­way, which is aim­ing to end the use of all cars run­ning on fos­sil fu­els by 2025, of­fers gen­er­ous tax breaks for elec­tric ve­hi­cles as well as free park­ing and the use of bus lanes.—AFP

LON­DON: This file photo shows traf­fic queues in cen­tral Lon­don.—AFP

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