UK Government to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040
Congestion - credit Thomas140
The sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned from 2040 amid concerns about air quality, UK ministers are expected to announce today.
The announcement will include handing councils in England a £255m fund to help with emissions from diesel vehicles, as part of a wider £3bn package.
The move is a response to illegal levels of pollution in most major UK cities, which is said to have very serious health impacts.
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Up to 40,000 UK deaths can be attributed to air pollution each year, says the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
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The announcement comes as part of the long-awaited Clean Air Strategy, which has been the subject of lengthy legal wrangling.
Ministers had argued for a delay in publishing the draft plan and consultation until after the general election, arguing the publication would fall foul of purdah rules.
However the High Court ruled the Government’s plans must be produced on 9 May, with the final draft to be finished by 31 July.
The Government had been ordered by the courts to produce tougher draft measures to combat illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution, which is attributed to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year.
Measures in the strategy could also mean retrofitting buses and other transports in a bid to make them cleaner and changing features like speed bumps to make traffic smoother.
The UK Government is also understood to be looking at a diesel scrappage scheme on which it will have a consultation later this year.
A UK Government spokesman said: “Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible.
“That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around our roads.”
In Scotland, transport emissions are now also the biggest contributor to the country's greenhouse gas emissions.