Under pressure from activists, the UK has been forced to release a plan on dealing with air pollution. As part of that plan Michael Gove, the current environment secretary, has announced that by 2040 the sale of cars running on petrol (gasoline) or diesel will be banned in the UK. Jim Pickard and Peter Campbell write of the plan in the Financial Times:
Mr Gove will say that all new cars will have to be fully electric within a quarter of a century. His promise to ban other engine types — including hybrids — shifts the government further from its existing position, which was an “ambition” for all new cars to be zero-emissions by 2040.
The coalition government’s “carbon plan” in 2011 also predicted that all new cars sold after 2040 would have to be emission free, to meet a target of having no petrol or diesel cars on the roads by 2050.
The announcement is a milestone in the shift towards electric cars, which currently account for less than 1 per cent of UK sales.
It is part of a package of measures designed to help bring pollution back down to legal limits in towns and cities including London and Glasgow. These could include retrofitting buses or changing road layouts to improve air quality on 81 of the most polluted roads in Britain.
If this fails to bring down levels of the harmful pollutant nitrogen dioxide, ministers will let local authorities introduce charges, or ban the dirtiest cars at certain times of day.
The air quality plan also includes incentives for green taxis and for better cycling and walking facilities. There will also be a consultation on a scrappage scheme for old diesel vehicles.
The overall package has been earmarked as costing £3bn, but 90 per cent of this has already been announced.
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