Sales of new diesel and petrol cars will be banned in Britain from 2040, the UK government has announced as it looks to improve the country’s worsening air quality.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ (Defra) plans, which come after a similar pledge from President Macron of France, will also put an end to the supply of hybrid vehicles that have an electric motor powered by a petrol or diesel engine.
In addition, the scheme will include over £200 million to be divided between local authorities to help them in dealing with toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions from diesel vehicles.
This will be used by councils where roads breach legal limits for NO2 to implement measures such as removing speed humps, reprogramming traffic lights, changing road layouts, imposing tough levies on the most polluting vehicles and retrofitting the worst culprits with filters.
Local authorities will be required to publish initial plans to cut emissions by March 2018 and final proposals by the end of the year.
However, although the government will leave it up to local councils to decide exactly how best to tackle the issue, the strategy does not include the diesel scrappage scheme called for by motoring groups, under which owners of diesel cars would be compensated for trading in their polluting vehicles.
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove said: “It’s critically important that we provide the encouragement from government to help the car industry do the right thing.”
“What we’re saying to local authorities is come up with an imaginative solution to these proposals,” he told BBC radio.