New diesel and petrol cars banned in 2040

The government will soon announce plans to ban all new diesel and petrol cars in the UK from 2040, in order to accelerate a shift towards electric vehicles and tackle air pollution. Michael Gove, environmental secretary, said, ‘We have to get petrol and diesel cars off our roads if we are going to make sure not only that we deal with the health problems that air pollution causes, but also that we meet our climate change targets.’

Additional measures will be taken, including a £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, as part of a £3bn air quality package. There has been talk of ministers deliberating on a scrappage scheme later this year, but this is yet to be confirmed. Gove comments, ‘What we’re announcing today is a package of more than 2m pounds, which will go to local authorities to enable them to draw up appropriate plans in order to deal with the particular challenges they face.’

The changes follow from medical evidence presented by environmental groups, that 40,000 premature deaths per year in the UK are linked to air pollution. However, this claim was challenged recently by lead spokesman for FairFuelUK, Quentin Willson, stating that the true figure of premature life loss directly attributable to NOx pollution, is between half a day and 3.5 hours.

Ministers have been wary of appearing to punish those that drive diesel cars, who they argue, bought the vehicles after being encouraged to by the last Labour government due to lower carbon emissions. However, it has been reported that diesel drivers on congested roads in towns and cities across the UK face new pollution taxes and could also be barred from travelling at rush hour.