Moving to cut down air pollution, Britain announced on Wednesday the soon to be outlawing of sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans as of 2040. Environmentalists, however, dismissed the proposals as shortcoming and not enough.
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.
Environment minister Michael Gove announced the move as part of the government’s keenly-awaited Â£3 billion ($3.9 billion, 3.4 billion euro) air pollution plan, which will demand that councils propose measures by March next year to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels.
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 Â£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.
On that not , 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.