The UK is looking set to join France in banning the sale of all diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040. The ban forms part of the UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations, the government's £3 billion vision for improving the nation's air quality. The aim of the plan is to ban the sale of all diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040, in an effort to make almost every vehicle on the road zero-emission by 2050. The UK's plan includes an investment of £600 million in the development, manufacture and use of zero-emissions vehicles by 2020, including £100 million towards building and retrofitting low-emission buses.
The document states: “The shift to ultra-low and zero-emission vehicles is well under way, and will continue to gather pace over the coming years as we move towards 2040, by which point the government will end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars. This shift will resolve our air-quality problem as combustion engines gradually disappear from the streets of our towns and cities, some as soon as the early 2020s.”
An earlier version of the document was released back in May, but judges ordered it to be revised because it failed to meet EU pollution limits. At the time, the government was criticised for having a weak strategy for cleaning up the UK's air and the new plan has also been met with criticism from both politicians and campaigners who feel the proposed ban on petrol and diesel cars is simply not enough and not soon enough to combat the problem.
London mayor Sadiq Khan called it a “half-hearted commitment,” while Greenpeace UK's clean air campaigner Areeba Hamid labelled 2040 as “far too late.” In a tweet, former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband described the ban as a “smokescreen for weak measures to tackle 40,000 deaths a year from air pollution,” while Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said there needed to be a more urgent plan put in place. What do you think? Is it a case of too little, too late? Or are you pleased the UK government is at least making an effort to step up to the plate. Sound off in the comments below.