The UK is to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040, as part of their clean air plan, among fears that increasing levels of nitrogen oxide present a huge risk to the health of the public.
The government have warned that the ban, which will include hybrid vehicles, is needed on account of the impact that poor air quality was having on the public’s health. The government believe that it constitutes the biggest environmental risk to people’s health in the country.
A 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.”
Michael Gove, the environment secretary, will be hoping for a positive reception when he publishes the final document later today following months of legal battles.
The clean air plan will focus on steps that can be taken at a local council level to improve air quality in specific areas of the UK where emissions have breached thresholds. Steps will include retrofitting buses, changing public transport routes, altering road layouts and reviewing traffic features such as speed bumps, roundabouts and traffic lights.
Councils will be given £255m to accelerate their efforts and local emission hotspots will need to submit their plans by March 2018 and have them finalised by the end of 2018.
Ministers insist that while the option of charges are still on the table there were no plans to make councils introduce them. All other steps will be reviewed first to try and avoid more charges to the UK motorist.
The decision to ban petrol and diesel sales by 2040 hails the beginning of the end for the combustion engine which has dominated the motor industry for more than a hundred years.
The UK’s clean air plan will also include £1bn in ultra-low emissions vehicles which includes investing nearly £100m in the UK’s car charging infrastructure and fund the plug-in car and plug-in grant schemes. £290m will also go towards the retrofitting and money towards low-emission taxi cabs.
The plan will also include an air quality grant for councils, a green bus fund for low-carbon vehicles, £1.2bn for cycling and walking and £100m to improve the air quality on the roads.
The plan comes among warnings that the country’s high level of air pollution could be responsible for more than 40,000 premature deaths a year.
More steps need to be made by the government and the industry itself to improve the UK’s air quality.
There are a few organisations in the haulage industry who are working to tackle the issue of emissions which are highlighted in the DfT’s Freight Carbon Review, these include examples of transport collaborations such as freight exchange networks and partnerships.