26 July 2017

UK to ban new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040

The government is set to announce the ban of new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 onwards as part of the Clean Air Strategy.

The Clean Air Strategy is to be published before a High Court deadline on 31 July 2017 ordering the Government to issue new plans to tackle illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide.

The UK has the largest percentage of diesel vehicles compared to other European countries.

This is a result of government-led encouragement to use less gasoline vehicles and switch to diesel-fuelled ones, as they have more range and emit less CO2.

However, emissions are eight to ten times more toxic according to Stephen Holgate, medical research professor at the University of Southampton.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, on an interview on BBC Radio 4 said: “We can’t carry on with diesel and petrol cars,” adding “It’s important we all gear up for a significant change which deals not just with the problems to health caused by emissions but the broader problems caused in terms of accelerating climate change.”

Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders commented: “We could undermine the UK’s successful automotive sector if we don’t allow enough time for the industry to adjust” claiming that the 2040 deadline is strict.

Sweden’s Volvo Car Group said that by 2019, all of its cars will have an electric motor and BMW AG has already announced that a fully electric version of Mini will be built at the Cowley plant in Oxford from 2019.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced similar plans earlier this July.

Ministers will also unveil a £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, as part of a £3bn package of spending on air quality.

UK is seeking to position itself as a leader in electric and driverless car technology as a way to boost the domestic economy and create job positions in the light of Brexit.

Electric cars are about 1 per cent of all UK vehicles, yet the country is among the few worldwide to have more than 100,000 plug-in vehicles on the road.

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