Sale of new petrol and diesel cars to be banned in UK from 2040

The sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans are set to be banned in the UK from 2040 under new government plans to tackle air pollution.

The news was revealed today by environment secretary Michael Gove, who also promised to work with local authorities to develop diesel scrappage schemes that are “value for money and appropriately targeted”.

The ban is set to be officially announced today as part of the government’s clean air strategy. A draft proposal earlier this year had failed to commit to a diesel scrappage scheme, which it said would be “infeasible” given the cost and number of cars involved.


However, the draft focused on working with councils to set up localised ‘clean air zones’, and the government is expected to announce a £255 million fund to support this as part of a £3 billion air quality fund.

Gove told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “We can’t carry on with diesel and petrol cars, not just because of the health problems that they cause, but also because the emissions that they cause would mean that we would accelerate climate change, do damage to our planet and to the next generation.”

However, the Fair Fuel UK Campaign criticised the news that there would be a “cliff edge” date, saying: “Banning new diesel and petrol car sales by 2040 will cost trillions to consumers and the economy.

“With several proven solutions to lowering emissions available now, such as retrofitting systems, bulk additives and for the petrol mix of bioethanol to move from e5 to e10, the minister has missed an opportunity to solve the emissions issue now, fairly and at little cost.”

Mike Hawes, CEO of UK automotive industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “Currently demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles is growing but still at a very low level as consumers have concern over affordability, range and charging points.

“Outright bans risk undermining the current market for new cars and our sector – which supports over 800,000 jobs across the UK – so the industry instead wants a positive approach which gives consumers incentives to purchase these cars.”

The UK isn’t the first country to announce an end to the sale of internal combustion engines. Both the Netherlands and Norway have pledged to implement a ban by 2025, while France recently vowed to do the same by 2040.

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