UK to ban sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040

UK to ban sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040
New petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from UK sale in 23 years’ time, as part of efforts to tackle air pollution.

Michael Gove’s court-mandated clean air strategy will also include the recommendation for a “value for money” diesel scrappage scheme when it goes through the High Court in a few days’ time.

But several motoring organisations think the idea of banning the production of petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 is unrealistic, with the RAC warning the country is “nowhere near ready for such a sweeping shift.”

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Mr Gove also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he doesn’t think measures to prevent certain vehicles entering city centres are “necessary”, adding the Government will work with local authorities to pave the way ahead.

As part of an overall £3 billion package ring-fenced for air quality improvements, the Government is also expected to announce £255 million worth of funding to accelerate local measures for dealing with the emissions caused by diesel cars.

The measures will all be included in the clean air strategy, published just days before the deadline set by the High Court.

The expected move to ban petrol and diesel vans and cars follows similar plans announced in France this month, and amid increasing signs that the shift to electric vehicles is accelerating.

RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes says the plan to stop the sale of conventional vehicles by 2040 is a “bold” one, but that the UK has a huge amount of work to do if it is to meet deadline.

Mr Gove used his radio appearance on Wednesday morning to get across the point that “we can’t carry on with diesel and petrol cars” – not only from a health perspective, but also because of the effects emissions have on climate change and an already in-danger planet.

On scrappage schemes, Mr Gove says previous incarnations have represented “poor value for money” and noted that people are already moving away from diesel cars independently.

However, if local authority areas can come up with better value scrappage schemes that are “appropriately targeted”, the Cabinet minister has “no ideological or theological objection to them”.

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The RAC’s Nick Lyes added: “While drivers are keen to reduce their emissions footprint and help clean up our air, they are concerned about the cost and battery range of electric vehicles.

“This is borne out by RAC research that shows only 2% of motorists believe their next car purchase will be pure electric. With more models coming on to the market and the inevitable increase in competition driven by the 2040 target, these fears should reduce in time.

“There is little evidence to suggest that the UK’s energy infrastructure will be ready for the largescale shift to electric vehicles, and it’s vital the energy used to power these vehicles comes from the greenest possible sources. Right now public charging facilities are patchy, there is very little on-street charging in residential areas and unlike filling up a petrol or diesel car, drivers cannot recharge a vehicle in a matter of minutes.

“While reducing harmful emissions should be tackled locally, where the problem exists, we question whether councils have the skills or resources to take on the task of objectively finding the best means of cutting air pollution.

“Given the urgency of the situation, there is a real risk that authorities will rush to implement ill-thought through solutions to meet the Government’s deadline for final plans at the end of next year. It is good to see that the Government will ‘assess local plans to ensure they are effective, fair, good value, and deliver the necessary air quality compliance’, but it is vital this is done thoroughly so drivers and businesses are not unfairly penalised.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.