The government announced plans earlier today to ban the sale of cars and vans that will run on fuels like petrol and diesel in an attempt to tackle air pollution.
The announcement comes soon after French President Emmanuel Macron had laid out similar plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 to deal with rising air pollution in France.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove made the announcement on Wednesday as a part of the government’s £3bn air pollution control plan which will need the councils to propose measures by March next year to decrease the nitrogen dioxide levels.
Gove told the Radio 4’s Today Programme: “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.”
This move is ahead of the government’s plan to find solution to increasing pollution in Britain’s major metro cities like London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow etc. after 17 towns and 81 major roads were identified to be breaching EU’s emissions standard.
This process could also lead to retrofitting busses or changing road layouts and if this does not do much help then the local authorities will be allowed to introduce charges or ban the most pollutant vehicles at certain times of day.
New pollution taxes will be imposed on diesel cars who use the congested and busy roads in towns and cities as well as motorways such as M4 and M25.
Greenpeace, the campaign which addressed this issue to the government argue that 2040 is a deadline far too late as it will mean to wait for almost 25 years before action will be taken to tackle health problems. They also pointed out that countries like Germany, The Netherlands, Norway and India are considering similar plans by 2030.
German car makers BMW announced earlier this week that their new electric-mini’s plant will be based in Cowley in Oxford and another of Germany’s car maker Volvo said that all of its cars manufactured 2019 onwards would be hybrid or electric.
While there have been cheers over this initiative taken by the government, some companies have criticised this plan saying it could hit the British car market and could cost about 800,000 jobs.
“Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles is growing but still at a very low level as consumers have concern over affordability, range and charging points,” said Mike Hawkes chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
The local authorities will be provided with a funding of £40m to tackle air pollution as a part of this scheme.